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BT Openreach Recruit 1600 New UK Engineers to Improve Service Standards

Monday, May 19th, 2014 (7:38 am) - Score 3,923

BTOpenreach, which is responsible for looking after BT’s national UK telecoms network, will soon be bolstered by an additional 1,600 engineers in order to help the operator meet Ofcom’s forthcoming quality of service requirements (i.e. faster fault fixing etc.) and assist in the roll-out of superfast broadband (FTTC/P) technologies.

The new recruits, many of which will be gathered and trained up from the usual pool of ex-armed forces personnel, will be split up around the country and tasked with a variety of different work (e.g. 200 for the South West, 150 in the East of England and 80 in Yorkshire and the Humber etc.). BT is understood to currently employ around 32,000 staff and a little less than 8,000 of those will now be engineers.

But the announcement also appears timed to coincide with the conclusion of Ofcom’s consultation into improving Openreach’s quality of service (details), which is due to be published tomorrow. In particular, the regulator wants to see Openreach meet better “minimum performance standards” through faster repairs, quicker installations (especially for new build homes) and making more information about their service performance available to the public.

Joe Garner, Openreach CEO, said:

Millions of customers depend on broadband and they rely on us to keep them connected, whatever the weather. Our engineers do an incredible job. They have been rolling out fibre broadband faster than anywhere else in the world, and at the same time completing hundreds of thousands of jobs each week to keep people connected throughout the UK – an amazing achievement.

These new recruits will be a welcome boost to that effort, joining an already world class team. We want to attract the best in the country to a career in engineering. We are also keen to recruit women as I’m keen to dispel the myth that being an engineer is an exclusively male vocation. In fact we have many successful women engineers and it is my personal belief that recruiting more will also help our customer service agenda.

Being an Openreach engineer is a terrific job and a rewarding career, regardless of your background, or gender.”

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, said:

Supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan. So I am delighted that BT is launching this major recruitment drive for 1,600 engineers across the UK, providing financial security for families and delivering a world class infrastructure for Britain.”

Sajid Javid, DCMS Secretary of State and Minister for Equalities, added:

The creation of new jobs, like the ones being announced by BT today, is one of the many benefits associated with the roll-out of superfast broadband currently under way. We know that for every £1 invested by government, we get £20 benefit in return, and the employment boost delivered through infrastructure projects like this are a vital part of the Government’s long term economic plan.”

Sadly Ofcom’s new measures won’t force Openreach to open a new call centre in order to engage directly with customer complaints. In addition, the regulators quality of service requirements will only apply to BT’s Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and fully unbundled (LLU MPF) broadband / phone lines (i.e. their “fibre broadbandFTTC/P lines were already judged to have “generally met or exceeded its service level agreements“).

Openreach said that they expected to start publishing more information about their service performance before this summer, which will complement existing reports from BTWholesale and the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator (OTA) that can sometimes be a little confusing for those unfamiliar with the terminology. But Openreach won’t have to be fully complaint until April 2016.

Ofcom has also warned that Openreach could face being fined if they fail to meet the new targets, although the need to hire new engineering staff and adhere to the rules is also expected to add “a few pennies per month” to the wholesale costs for ISPs (this could be passed onto consumers). Last year Openreach said they could meet Ofcom’s demands but “our concern is that the prices being proposed are insufficient to fund the higher level of service that Openreach wishes to deliver and its customers expect.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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10 Responses
  1. Avatar New_Londoner

    Good to see more recruiting from the forces, let’s hope others follow suit to give former servicemen and women new careers.

  2. Avatar JNeuhoff

    Wasted money, as usual. The real issue is the maintenance-intensive obsolete technology, especially old copper lines. A goog starting point is to scrap the copper-VDSL madness.

  3. Avatar hmmm

    line rental will be going up again we the customer are mugs to pay these cowboys but ofcom havent a friggin clue .

  4. Avatar Phil

    Get rid of copper once for all. David Cameron is more stupid to think it had future proof, it does NOT! Scrap the line rental & copper wires.

  5. Avatar George Lloyd

    If they never made experienced engineers redundant perhaps they would not need to recruit so many inexperienced engineers.

    • Avatar Qualified Telecoms engineer

      Exactly! There recruitment process is ridiculous. Not at all interested in experienced telecoms engineers!

  6. Avatar Sledgehammer

    BT must have saved a lot of money with there roll out of FFTC and the BDUK donation to be able to employ 1600 more staff.

  7. Avatar finaldest

    Wishful thinking but BT should train these 1600 ex service personnel in installation of FTTH. Then these 1600 staff could be rolling out FTTH rather than the soon to be redundant FTTC.

    BT, Just get on with it and do the job properly rather than opting for the short term cheaper option and scrounging off the state.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      FTTH typically needs cover an area may be you could suggest the cost for the core bits for that area, then predict the take up and then the actual income.

      However all new builds estates should see developers insisting on FTTP.

  8. Avatar Qualified Telecoms engineer

    BT “Openreach” don’t seem to want to employ experienced telecoms engineers!! Myself and various other qualified telecoms engineers I know have completed their daft interview process and tests only to be turned down. I have over 17 years experience working on network telecoms for Cable&Wireless,Cabletel,NTL,VM and various other IT and PBX installation companies…..yet BT weren’t interested!!!!!!!! Very weird company.

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