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Budding engineer Cameron proves a class act

Press release   •   Oct 30, 2018 10:00 GMT

Cameron holds original ‘paper’ cable - copper which was protected by paper before plastic was in use.

Engineering-mad schoolboy Cameron Francis had his wish come true this week when he and his Glasgow classmates got an exclusive lesson in engineering.

The nine-year-old from Glasgow wrote to Openreach with pictures of himself in a hard hat asking if he could visit his local telephone exchange, signing off as Cameron Francis, Openreach engineer.

Cameron, who is autistic and has been diagnosed with ADHD, wrote: “I see engineers in my street and I tell them things that I know about Openreach. They always say: ‘You know more than I do!’. My dad Paul is an engineer and so is my uncle Kevin. I would really love it if I could visit an exchange.”

Openreach is working on the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout led by the Scottish Government, which has reached more than 900,000 homes across the country so far.

After hearing about Cameron’s wish, the Digital Scotland team agreed to send their fibre showcase – a portable classroom equipped with all the kit that keeps Scotland digitally connected – to Blairdardie Primary School so that all 30 pupils in his P5 class could learn more about engineering.

Later, Cameron and a few friends toured the local Drumchapel exchange to see its inner workings and visited Openreach’s fibre broadband training room there.

Blairdardie Primary’s depute head teacher Mark Young said: “Cameron is obsessed with engineering. All his play is about connecting up the network and he’s even been training up his classmates. He was so excited to get a letter back from Openreach and is thrilled about the visit from them and the Digital Scotland team.

“It was a great opportunity for the class to find out about the engineering work that goes on behind the scenes to connect up communities to fibre broadband and other network services which are so much a part of our day-to-day lives and learning.”

Fraser Rowberry, service delivery director for Openreach in Scotland, wrote to Cameron after receiving his request.

He told the youngster: “It’s always a pleasure to hear from our budding engineers of the future and it sounds like you’ll make a great engineer one day! We’d love to visit your school and tell you and your classmates a bit more about the work we do to keep Scotland connected.

“I hope it might encourage you and some of your pals to think about a career with Openreach in a few years’ time – I started out as an apprentice when I was nearly 16 myself.”

Thousands of homes and businesses across Glasgow are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout, which is funded by the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, BT Group, the UK Government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund.

Sara Budge, programme director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “We were delighted to send the Digital Scotland showcase to Blairdardle Primary School to help make Cameron’s wish come true. We hope he and his classmates will be inspired to consider a career in engineering.”

Fibre broadband offers fast and reliable broadband connections at speeds of up to 80Mbps1 and there are many suppliers in the marketplace to choose from. Whether you own a business, help the kids with homework or want to keep in touch with friends and family, fibre broadband enables multiple users to connect to the internet at high speeds and get better, faster access to online services.

Local people can check the Digital Scotland website to find out if they are able to access the latest fibre broadband technology. People need to sign up with an internet service provider, as upgrades are not automatic.


1These are the top wholesale speeds available over Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

About Openreach

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.

We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 600 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.

We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2018, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

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