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Chris Elmore MP connects with ultrafast broadband

Press release   •   Jun 18, 2019 11:56 BST

Chris Elmore MP for Ogmore has been meeting with recent Openreach recruits that are rolling out the next generation of broadband technology across his Ogmore constituency.

Mr Elmore got an update on broadband services available in the area and according to the independent website Think Broadband, nearly 98 per cent of premises across Ogmore are now able to connect to broadband at a speed of 30Mbps and above – enough to stream six HD movies simultaneously[1].

In addition to having a hands-on go at ‘splicing’ fibre – to create a new joint in the network - Mr Elmore also got an update on Openreach’s recent push to recruit more trainee engineers across South Wales.

With a workforce of more than 1,800 throughout Wales, Openreach has recruited more than 200 new people, mostly trainee apprentice engineers, to help the business deliver ultrafast Fibre to the Premises technology, support evolving 5G mobile networks and improve customer service. This is on top of the 250 trainee engineers that Openreach recruited in Wales last year.

Mr Elmore said: “I've been campaigning on improving digital connectivity since I was first elected and I know just how important the rollout of superfast broadband is to our communities across Ogmore. It’s great that more and more properties are now being able to access superfast broadband, which is vital if we’re to ensure access to new, digital services and to grow our local economy.”

“It was also interesting to hear about plans for full fibre broadband, where the fibre runs directly to people’s homes. While this is in the early stages, it’s great to know that the build is happening ahead of demand and that some constituents can already enjoy reliable broadband capabilities which are among the best anywhere in the UK. I know there is much more work to do though, and it’s important progress continues at pace.

“What’s clear is that demand for improved connectivity will only increase as our economy further digitises. The jobs this will create pose a really positive opportunity for us locally and I'm pleased to see Openreach's latest recruitment drive, which I would highly encourage constituents to look into."

Mr Elmore was also given an update on Openreach’s plans to reach four million homes and businesses with ultrafast broadband by 2021 and it’s ambition to get to 15 million by the mid-2020s if the conditions are right. Ambitions that could generate future welcome job recruitment drives across South Wales.

The visit was hosted by Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Wales, who said: “We know good, reliable broadband is really important to local people, and we’re making progress every day, but we also appreciate that there’s more work to be done.”

“In order to supply that demand and future proof the network we’ve been recruiting more and more trainee engineers. These are well-paid jobs that provide security and good career paths and, as we increase our ambition to go further and faster with full fibre broadband, it’s quite likely that our ongoing recruitment drive will continue.”

Openreach is currently recruiting 107 additional trainee engineers across locations in South Wales including five based in Ogmore – on top of the 148 engineers that have already been recruited over the last 12 months – to help deliver Wales’ fibre future.

Openreach’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet footprint, at speeds of up to 80Mbps, currently passes more than 1.3 million homes and business premises in Wales, where take-up of superfast services across all networks stands at around 53%.

[1]Netflix connection speed recommendations

About Openreach

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.

We’re 33,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, 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 the UK can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 620 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27.5m UK premises

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £13 billion into our network and, at more than 173 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,314 times.

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re on track to reach four million premises with this ‘full fibre’ technology by March 2021 and ultimately, we want to upgrade the majority of the UK if the conditions are right. We’re also hiring around 3,000 trainee engineers this year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country.

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

For the year ended 31 March 2019, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visit openreach.co.uk