Openreach introduces fibre training in Scotland

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Openreach has opened a new, £400,000 training facility in Scotland that is designed to provide engineers with the required skills to enable roll-out of faster broadband technology across the country.

The facility will enhance the company’s existing training centre in Livingston and includes a purpose-built classroom where engineers can learn how to install full-fibre broadband. Going forward, the company also plans to install a mock-up residential road at the site, so trainees can test their skills in a realistic environment. The road will have a live fibre network which connects a local exchange to a replica office, shop and houses through pavements, ducts, poles and cabinets – with exposure to the elements providing additional realism.

Amongst the first to pass through the new school will be 400 newly-hired trainee engineers in Scotland - many of whom will join in rural areas. Around 40 of these individuals have been hired to work on the roll-out of a new fibre to the premises (FTTP) network in Edinburgh, with speeds up to 1Gb/s. Work is under way in parts of the city including Corstorphine and Newington, with Murrayfield, Abbeyhill and western Dalry expected to follow. Around 1,700 trainees are expected to pass through the doors of the facility through 2018/19, with numbers to rise once work completes later this year.

Visiting the new site, cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown (pictured, right, with Openreach CEO Clive Selley) commented: ‘Educating the next generation of digital engineers is absolutely vital to ensuring we meet our digital ambitions. I therefore welcome this investment from Openreach in their fibre training school, which will underpin the roll-out of high-speed broadband to communities across Scotland.’

Clive Selley added: ‘Our new engineers are helping us provide better service, broader coverage and faster broadband speeds throughout the country, and this new training school will make sure they have the skills they need to get the job done. We’re confident that our investment in people and networks across Scotland have a big role to play in the country’s future economic success.’

The company expects to announce more locations to be upgraded to FTTP throughout the rest of the year, having pledged in February to bring high-speed broadband to three million UK premises by the end of 2020 as part of its 'fibre first' programme (see Openreach fibre first to ‘fire the starting pistol’ on major infrastructure upgrade).

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