BT’s Openreach plans to fuel fiber push with 4,000 new jobs in 2022

BT fiber subsidiary Openreach prepared to undertake the largest hiring spree in its history, looking to add thousands of employees this year as it strives to deploy fiber to 25 million locations across the U.K. by the end of 2026.

The company plans to fill more than 4,000 new jobs in 2022, including around 3,000 apprenticeships. Its careers page shows it is currently hiring for a range of roles, including engineering and customer service positions. Openreach is aiming for at least 20% of its recruits to be women.

Clive Selley, Openreach’s CEO, noted it has already onboarded more than 8,000 engineers over the last two years. He added the 2022 hires “will play a crucial role as we continue to improve services for our customers and build the biggest and best broadband network in the U.K., covering millions of rural and urban homes.”

In addition to expanding its employee base, Openreach said it plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers over the next year, readjusting their expertise from a focus on copper-based technologies to fiber.

The push to expand and retrain its workforce comes as Openreach ramps up its fiber builds across the country.

In Q4 2021, BT said Openreach passed a record 662,000 new locations with fiber-to-the-premises, with additions running at an average pace of 50,000 per week. It added Openreach’s footprint now stands at a total of 6.5 million locations, putting it more than a quarter of the way to its 25 million-location target.

RELATED: BT’s Openreach pushes fiber adoption with wholesale discounts

To help fuel fiber adoption, Openreach announced in July it would offer wholesale discounts (known as its “Equinox” offer) to communications providers who committed to use its infrastructure. BT chief executive Philip Jansen said in a statement it saw a 37% increase in FTTP connections following the launch of the offer.

All told, it added 244,000 fiber customers in the quarter, growing its base to 1.5 million customers.

BT’s consolidated revenue fell 2% to £15.7 billion ($21.4 billion) in the nine months to December 31, 2021. Openreach revenue grew 4% to £4.1 billion ($5.5 billion) over the same period, partially offsetting declines in its Global and Enterprise segments.