- Openreach first to stage event at Senedd as Covid restrictions are lifted.
- Network builder sets out Full Fibre build plans for Wales at Senedd drop-in session
MSs from across Wales had the opportunity during a drop-in session at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to talk with Openreach engineers and apprentices that are being tasked with building a Full Fibre ultrafast broadband network across the country.
More than 20 MSs, support staff and researchers were able to quiz Openreach about Wales’ digital future and learn more about some of the innovative technology that’s being used by the nation’s largest network builder to bring some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe to some of the remotest parts of Wales.
During the drop-in session, which was the first to be held at the Senedd since Covid restrictions were lifted, MSs also had the opportunity to learn more about the economic benefits fast, reliable connectivity is bringing to the Welsh economy
The drop-in session was hosted by Connie Dixon, Partnership Director for Wales. She said:
We know that reliable, ultrafast internet connections can have a transformative effect on businesses, online learning and people’s daily lives. We’ve already reached six million homes and businesses across the UK with ultrafast full fibre technology including more than 425,000 in Wales but we know there’s more to do and we’re committed to doing it.
Research from Cebr last year highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in Wales to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £2 billion boost to the Welsh economy.
We were delighted to be able to take that positive story to MSs today and set out our vision and plans for bringing ultrafast broadband to more of Wales.
Sponsor of the drop-in was Peter Fox MS for Monmouth who said:
We’re all in agreement that it’s vital for everyone to have access to reliable and quick broadband and its encouraging to see the investment Openreach are making to Wales – both in terms of building the infrastructure and recruitment.
With a workforce of around 2,300 across Wales, Openreach already employs the nation’s largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals and has committed to building a more diverse and inclusive team in an industry that’s traditionally been very white, male dominated.
Openreach also plans to retrain more than 3,000 of its existing engineers during the next year – changing their focus from fixing older, copper-based technologies to installing and maintaining faster, more reliable fibre connections.
Last year, Openreach’s National Learning Centre for Wales in Newport was officially opened by the First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford and expects to train up to 6,000 new and existing Openreach engineers from across Wales, as well as further afield, during a typical year.