Openreach has pledged to hire 3,500 trainee engineers over the next twelve months, as it prepares to expand the UK’s fibre to the premises broadband infrastructure.
The UK currently has one of the lowest rates of full-fibre adoption in Europe, with just 3 per cent of properties linked up to the gigabit-capable pipes. But Openreach has vowed to rapidly roll out the service and plans to connect thee million premises by 2020.
“Today’s announcement of new jobs underlines our commitment to make our ‘Fibre First’ programme a reality,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “I’m confident that our twin investment in people and infrastructure will help the UK achieve the societal and economic benefits that come from better, more reliable, faster broadband services.”
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Manchester will be the first cities to benefit from the FTTP rollout. But Openreach claims the recruitment drive, the largest in the company’s history, will take place in a number of regions across the country, including remote communities such as the Orkney Islands. The firm currently employs 22,200 field engineers.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, welcomed the upcoming hiring spree: “This digital infrastructure will be welcomed by families and business across the country, and these new highly skilled jobs will be a boost to our talented workforce as we build an economy fit for the future.”
Openreach, which legally separated from BT last year and now operates as an independently governed division of the BT Group, owns most of the UK’s broadband infrastructure. But it faces fresh competition from alternative infrastructure providers such as CityFibre. In November, the firm partnered with Vodafone, announcing it would rollout FTTP connections to five million homes by 2025.