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Cityfibre Plan to Boost UK Fibre Rollout via 10,000 New Jobs

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 (7:50 am) - Score 2,616
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Cityfibre has today announced a major recruitment and training drive, which over the next 3 years will see them create 10,000 jobs (engineers etc.). The move supports their £4bn investment (here) to roll-out a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network across 8 million UK premises by around 2025.

Back in March 2020 Cityfibre confirmed (here) that, following their £200m acquisition of TalkTalk’s FibreNation business, they had increased their full fibre investment plan from £2.5bn to £4bn and boosted the roll-out plan. As a result the operator would seek to cover around 1 million premises by the end of 2021 and then 8 million premises across 100+ cities and towns (c.30% of the UK), which is expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of 2025 (i.e. the roll-out to 8m will continue past 2025 but we don’t know for how long).

NOTE: The operator has so far only named 62 of their planned locations and the rest should follow once they’ve completed the integration of FibreNation’s forward plan.

At the same time Cityfibre suggested that, outside London, their plans may eventually require up to 7,000 engineers (for the 62 named locations), although back then they had not yet announced a specific recruitment target. But today’s decision to create 10,000 new jobs over the next 3 years makes it official (this includes those working on their network for related civil engineering contractors).

The recruitment programme will include the identification and training of thousands of unemployed UK residents as well as new job opportunities for qualified and experienced construction and telecoms workers. It will also seek to attract more women and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

We know from other operators that it can take a long time (c.1 year), and a fair bit of money, to properly skill-up new fibre engineers, which is why it’s often wise to start such work sooner rather than later. The current lack of skilled fibre engineers in the UK market is an on-going issue, but on the bright side – post-COVID19 – it’s also one of the few areas where new jobs are still being created.

Steve Holliday, Chairman at CityFibre, said:

“We’re delighted to launch our training and recruitment programme creating up to 10,000 jobs in such a critical and vibrant sector. The programme will reach deep into our society to include some of those most in need of opportunity. Ultimately, it will ensure the skilled workforce is in place to get the job done and at the same time provide up-skilling and well-paid jobs across more than 100 towns and cities.

In the wake of the Coronavirus, delivering the Government’s target of full fibre nationwide by 2025 could not be more important. Of all the infrastructure projects and industrial policies under consideration, full fibre will have the biggest impact in the shortest time, and for the least public money. It will help ensure that the UK not only recovers economically, but that it swiftly transitions to a greener, smarter and fairer economy in which to thrive.”

Oliver Dowden MP, UK Digital Secretary, said:

“Our £5bn commitment to bring faster, gigabit-speed internet to the whole country is key to ensuring everyone is better connected, creating jobs and powering the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus.

We’re working closely with firms like CityFibre and I warmly welcome their commitment to building a highly-skilled and diverse telecoms workforce which will boost growth right across the UK.”

Recruitment campaigns to identify the first wave of trainees will begin later this month. Wherever possible, individuals will be recruited from the town or city identified for rollout, providing a much-needed boost to local employment and economies. The training and experience will also provide them with long-term career opportunities in a sector critical to the UK’s future.

We note that Cityfibre are signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant and members of Business In the Community. Any individuals interested in training and career opportunities for this are encouraged to register their interest at www.cityfibre.com/buildfibre. A large proportion of trainees will also receive accredited training for Openreach’s Duct and Pole Access (DPA / PIA), enabling the operator to increase their utilisation of existing underground cable ducts and poles to further boost its roll-out.

Cityfibre are continuing to ramp-up their FTTP roll-out and now expect to have awarded £1.5bn worth of construction contracts by summer 2020 (build is already underway in 28 cities and towns).

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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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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Rich says:

    For perspective, Cityfibre have told me to expect their Ipswich rollout to take about 2 years, so I wouldn’t imagine those cities that have already been started will take to 2025 to complete.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Indeed they won’t, particularly since c.12 cities account for their phase 1 target by the end of 2021. But it should be said that big cities, like Leeds, will absolutely take a lot longer. The picture varies from place to place as you’d expect.

  2. Avatar CJ says:

    This could be good news for the rest of the “100 UK Towns and Cities” listed in their 2018 report where no formal plans have been announced yet. Places like Clacton-on-Sea, where very few homes can access anything faster than FTTC (no VM or Gfast).

    In that report they projected a peak workforce of 6850 would be required to build all 100 locations. Their ambition has increased 60% to 8m since then, with the Fibrenation acquisition, so 10,000 workers is broadly consistent.

  3. Avatar Elliot says:

    Are they planning to continue the rollout in York after buying Fibrenation? Lots of areas still missing, including the areas that are currently “covered”.

    Thanks

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