BT to add 1,000 engineers to its fiber workforce

BT (NYSE: BT) on Thursday said it will hire an additional 1,000 engineers for its Fiber to the X (FTTX) buildout, the majority of whom will be used to install fiber at consumer homes and businesses.

Part of this new set of jobs, which is being created by the company's Openreach subsidiary, will consist of 400 apprenticeships and 200 reserved for armed forces personnel. Over the past year, the company has recruited over 1,500 engineers to stay on pace with its ambitious £2.5 billion ($3.77 billion) fiber-based broadband network program.

Apprentices who are picked for the two-year program will focus on installing new fiber broadband connections in customers' homes in their first year and then move on to learn what BT says is "the full range of engineering tasks in the remaining months." In the current year, BT has recruited about 460 apprentices. Working in tandem with the Ministry of Defence and the Careers Transition Partnership, the telco has also attracted 1,000 staff from the armed forces in the past two years.

When this latest job recruitment effort is completed, BT said it will have 6,000 people working on its last mile fiber network. Last October, Openreach launched a plan to hire 250 engineers, particularly "Armed Forces leavers," or people who are in the process of leaving the military, to its fiber broadband workforce.

BT said the fiber network, which consists of a mix of both Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), currently passes over 13 million premises and is being extended to an additional 100,000 homes and businesses every week.

"We remain highly confident that fiber can be provided to more than 90 percent of U.K. homes and businesses, making the U.K. a global digital leader," BT CEO Ian Livingston said in a statement.

In February, BT announced that it would connect its growing FTTX network to over 1.2 million additional new premises, bringing its total footprint to about 19 million premises.

At a time when BT, like other traditional operators, has been seeing a decline in traditional legacy voice revenues, fiber-based broadband is becoming a savior for the company. During its Q3 2012 period, the telco added 200,000 retail fiber broadband customers and 21,000 BT Vision customers.

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012

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