BT to create 7,000 jobs as FTTP rollout accelerates

The company has increased its FTTP target from 20 million to 25 million premises by December 2026

BT has announced plans to create 7,000 additional jobs following its decision to increase its full fibre target from 20 million to 25 million premises by December 2026.

The jobs are to include direct and contracted positions in planning and field-based coordinating, fibre and civil engineering, as well as the installation and maintenance of the networks.

The 7,000 new employment opportunities will help BT’s Openreach increase its FTTP rollout to 4 million premises a year. The decision had been fuelled by Ofcom’s recent Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review as well as the results of March’s 5G spectrum auction, where BT’s EE managed to secure the largest variety of wavelengths.

Announcing the acceleration of the rollout, BT Group chief executive Philip Jansen said that the company is “already building more full fibre broadband to homes and businesses than anyone else in the UK”. 

“Today we are increasing our FTTP target from 20 million to 25 million homes and businesses to deliver further value to our shareholders and support the Government’s full fibre ambitions,” he added.

Jansen also stated BT’s decision to ramp up the rollout by five million premises will deliver three significant benefits for the company as well as the UK.

“It allows us to go faster, beefing up our capacity to build fibre to households and businesses; it allows us to go further, getting fibre to more people including in rural communities, and; it will help fuel UK economic recovery, with better connectivity and up to 7,000 new jobs,” he said.

According to CCS Insight director of Consumer and Connectivity, Kester Mann, BT’s announcement “is welcome news for the UK’s recovery from COVID-19”.

“The pandemic has underlined the value of high-quality connectivity to support households and businesses. It will be an important factor in restoring the economy and bridging the digital divide so starkly highlighted over the past year,” he said.

Mann also noted that the announcement “follows Ofcom’s crucial recent decision not to impose caps on the wholesale prices fibre operators can charge for access, for at least ten years”.

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“BT has always maintained that its fibre targets were contingent on the right regulatory conditions that would enable it to make a fair return. It is now living up to its word,” added Mann.

The news of the new 2026 FTTP target comes as BT unveiled its financial results for the full year to 31 March 2021. The company reported a 7% drop in revenue, which Mann described as “another let-down”.

However, he added that “the investment certainty it has long craved, combined with a positive outcome at the recent 5G spectrum auction and encouraging take-up on its existing fibre footprint suggest brighter times may finally be ahead”.

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