Broadband boost will create hundreds of new jobs across county

Worker up ladder

An Openreach engineer working at a coastal location - Credit: Openreach

Openreach has outlined plans to build ultrafast Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses in the UK – including 440,000 across the South West and more than 85,000 in Devon.

And that could also mean  a huge jobs boost for the county.

The majority of homes and businesses in places such as Barnstaple, Bovey Tracey, Holsworthy, Shaldon, South Brent and Torcross are set to benefit from what will be a massive nationwide, five-year scheme.

he company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit-capable broadband’ to 85 per cent of UK by 2025 and it follows an extended investment commitment by its parent, BT Group – which means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs announced in December 2020 – of which around 200 were in the South West.

By the end of 2021, Openreach will have created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles since 2017/18.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s regional director for the South West, said: “Building a new ultrafast broadband network across the South West is a massive challenge and some parts of the region will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses.

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“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment.  We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating more jobs in the region, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers as engineers."

Th areas in line for the broadband boost are: Ashburton, Holsworthy, Sidmouth, Axminster, Instow, Silverton Barnstaple, Ipplepen, South Brent, Bere Alston, Kingswear, Starcross, Bovey Tracey, Loddiswell, Stoke Gabriel, Braunton, Luppitt, Sutton Cross, Churston, Modbury,, Swimbridge, Colyton, Moretonhampstead Torcross, Combe Martin, North Tawton, Torrington, Craddock, Salcombe, Totnes, Croyde, Sampford Peverell, Whimple, Feniton, Seaton, Yelverton, Hele and Shaldon.