Openreach’s Regional Partnership Director for the East of England, Kieran Wines, today welcomed the findings of a report conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) which shows that a comprehensive Full Fibre network in the East of England could enable 91,000 new people to enter the region’s workforce.
The report, commissioned by Openreach, also reveals that a nationwide rollout would also allow more than 28,000 people in the East of England to expand the hours they are able to work if they wanted. And helping carers, parents and over-65s to access employment could contribute £2.3 billion in gross value added to the East of England economy.
Kieran Wines commented: “This report illustrates just how game-changing the roll out of Full Fibre broadband across the East of England’s rural and remote communities could be.
“The pandemic has reinforced public recognition of the importance of high-quality broadband and we’re clear that fibre has a significant part to play in the region’s recovery.
“The Cebr findings show accelerating the build would pay huge dividends to the East of England economy as a whole and be instrumental in bringing people back into the workforce who haven’t previously had the ability to navigate other commitments or find opportunities in their local area.
“Cebr’s previous research explained the economic windfall in store for the UK with a nationwide upgrade – including a £59 billion boost to productivity – £5.4 billion of this in the East of England. And this updated report highlights how Full Fibre can help to level up the UK, bringing up to more than 91,000 people back into the workforce in our region. With the challenges our region currently faces, this an opportunity we can’t afford to ignore.”
Openreach is investing millions of pounds on a Full Fibre rollout to dozens of towns and cities in the region, including Basildon, Chelmsford, Chorleywood, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley and St Albans. In December last year, Openreach announced it was creating 2,500 new roles and an estimated 2,800 roles with partners to support the UK-wide Full Fibre build, including 295 new roles in the East of England. Openreach already employs more than 34,500 people, including more than 25,000 engineers who build, maintain and connect customers to its nationwide broadband network. Of these, more than 3,300 live and/or work in the East of England.