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Openreach launches recruitment drive for 220 engineers in East Anglia

PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 16 March 2018

A BT Openreach engineer working on telephone lines. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

A BT Openreach engineer working on telephone lines. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire.

BT Openreach has launched its biggest recruitment drive ever, which will include 220 engineers to speed the roll-out of faster broadband in the region.

The company, which maintains the UK’s broadband infrastructure, wants to take on 3,500 new trainee engineers across the country, and has pinpointed new roles for Norfolk (67), Suffolk (70) and Cambridgeshire (83).

The announcement comes as Openreach accelerates plans to build more ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connections across the country, in response to government pressure. It now wants to reach three million homes and businesses by 2020, upgrading its previous target of two million, and says it will “intends to go significantly further” if conditions allow.

However, those fastest speeds of up to 1Gbps – which allows 200 HD films to be streamed simultaneously – are likely to be focused on the UK’s biggest cities, while in East Anglia the new roles will support the extension of superfast broadband (of at least 24Mbps).

In Norfolk, 90% of homes and businesses can access a fast connection while the figure in Suffolk is 92.4%, following high-profile campaigns led by the respective county councils.

The roles will be working across the counties, but will be based in locations including Norwich, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Twelve regional training centres will also be opened to support the fibre roll-out, with the East of England nearest branch at Peterborough.

Kieran Ingram, general manager of service delivery for Openreach in the East of England, said: “This latest recruitment represents a further major investment in the East of England. We’re looking forward to men and women from all walks of life applying for these roles at Openreach as we’re keen to engage with the aspiring engineers of tomorrow and to build a diverse workforce that reflects the hugely diverse communities we serve.”

Openreach maintains the UK’s broadband infrastructure, but has been in the spotlight in recent years for its poor service and reportedly favouring BT over rival suppliers.

Ofcom ordered BT to legally separate the company last year, and in December, the government announced broadband speeds of 10mbps would become a legal right by 2020, rejecting Openreach’s timetable for upgrading connections.

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