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BT to slap overalls on 1,000 new bods in fibre broadband boost

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BT hopes to hire 1,000 engineers to pump high-speed fibre internet connections to street-side junction boxes, homes and businesses in Britain. The recruitment drive is part of the national telco's £2.5bn investment in its broadband network.

BT said that once the jobs are filled, it will have 6,000 engineers working on the project overseen by its Openreach division. The company recently said it had hooked up at least 13 million premises in Britain to its fibre network, gently jogging past rival Virgin Media.

The UK government wants at least 2Mbit/s broadband available to every Brit, and super-fast connections for 90 per cent of properties across the country. Councils awarded BT contracts, funded by the Broadband Delivery UK pot of taxpayers' cash, to roll out broadband across rural counties to meet these targets - but the telco said the work won't be completed until 2016.

That's one year after the Coalition government will have fought for survival at the next General Election. Ministers hoping to keep their jobs want the broadband coverage to be in place before Brits head to the polling stations.

Underlying the urgency to get the work done before the end of this parliamentary term, Prime Minister David Cameron chimed in this morning following BT's jobs announcement:

Working with business, the government is driving a transformation in UK broadband services and with an extra 100,000 homes and businesses gaining super-fast broadband availability each week, this is already taking shape.

Providing much faster broadband speeds, and enabling millions more homes and businesses to enjoy these speeds is vital for driving investment and equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.

BT said that it would fill the 1,000 posts by hiring about 400 apprentices, ex-squaddies and some long-term unemployed people. ®

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