Openreach has unveiled plans to hire 3,000 apprentice engineers in the next 12 months to hit its multi-million fibre broadband target, as pressure mounts to deliver high speed internet across the UK.
BT’s broadband infrastructure unit said it was extending its recruitment drive to meet its pledge to provide full fibre broadband to three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020.
Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said the company is making “great progress” towards its 2020 target, after it sped up the pace of the rollout to 13,000 premises per week.
Openreach has also pinpointed 11 new locations across the UK that will receive fibre broadband this year, including Bexley, Croydon, the Greater Glasgow region, Harrow, Merton, Redbridge and Richmond upon Thames. This brings the total number of areas offering fibre broadband up to 25.
Digital Minister Margot James said: “Openreach’s publication of clear plans for where, when and how they will be investing in new fibre networks is an important step.
“Long term commitments from the industry like this are very important for local communities who need this kind of guarantee on when they will be able to take advantage of the benefits that fibre can bring.”
This news comes as former Worldpay boss Philip Jansen joins BT as chief executive this week, replacing Gavin Patterson who was ousted after a prolonged slump in share price.
Ofcom chief executive Sharon White has already warned Mr Jansen that the company must commit to further broadband upgrades and boost investment in fibre.
Openreach also set an ambition to fund 10 million new lines by 2025 but has not yet made a firm commitment.