Plan to upgrade 160,000 Yorkshire and Humber properties to Full Fibre

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Digital network business Openreach plans to build ultrafast, reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses – including around 160,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

A total of 76 exchanges across the region are being upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Goole, Snaith, Brigg, Epworth, Ryedale, Richmond, Ingleton, Hebden Bridge, Bawtry and Penistone set to benefit from the five-year programme.

The company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable broadband’ to 85% of UK by 2025.

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 which were announced in December 2020 – of which around 130 were in Yorkshire and the Humber.

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

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director for the North, said: “Building a new Ultrafast broadband network across Yorkshire and the Humber 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.

“And with investments from other network builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits.

“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.”