Openreach to create thousands of new jobs in fibre rollout push

(Image credit: Openreach)

Openreach has announced it will be creating thousands of new jobs as part of a push to speed up the UK's fibre broadband rollout.

The company, a division of BT, is recruiting 2,500 people for engineering jobs and estimates its construction partners will take on 2,800 more - although the new positions will also include a range of non-engineering roles as well.

Openreach plans to connect four million UK properties to full fibre by March 2021 and up to 20 million by the end of the decade.

UK fibre expansion

The UK government had made superfast broadband networks a priority in recent years, with the aim of reaching every household in the country by the end of the decade - 85% of these by 2025.

The company says it is currently extending its full-fibre network to 40,000 UK homes and businesses per week - however it will have to increase this figure to around 50,000 premises a week by the end of next year to stay on target.

Such an upgrade could encourage more people to work effectively from home, reducing commute levels and the strain on Britain's transport infrastructure, and the government has looked to boost the rollout with a £12bn investment.

Earlier this year, Openreach promised to connect 3.2 million rural properties to fibre broadband and 15 million by the end of the decade.

However it had said it could go much further provided the appropriate regulatory environment and government support are in place. Last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak's spending review  confirmed some funding changes, as although £5 billion in public money will still be made available for the expansion of full fibre coverage, only £1.2 billion would be made available between now and 2024, potentially putting the brakes on rural deployments.

A study by Assembly Research earlier this year that missing out on the 2025 date by a year could cost £9.7 billion in productivity benefits and a two year delay would incur a £28.7 billion penalty.


Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.