Eurobites: Openreach Recruits Its Fiber Army

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK government issues gigabit vouchers; Helios pulls IPO; Deutsche Telekom gets ethical on data privacy.

  • Openreach, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s semi-detached network access operation, has announced plans to recruit 3,500 new engineers to help make its fiber rollout aspirations a reality. Recruitment will take place right across the UK, with the opening of 12 national fiber engineering schools, the first in the northern English city of Bradford. Openreach , through its "Fibre First" program, has committed to reaching 3 million British homes and businesses with FTTP by the end of 2020, and 10 million by the mid-2020s, but only if "conditions are right." (See Eurobites: Openreach Finally Puts 'Fibre First'.)

  • In related matters, the UK government has launched a voucher scheme for businesses and residents designed to help with the cost of hooking up to full fiber broadband. The Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) will issue vouchers worth up to £3,000 (US$4,180) for an SME or £500 ($696) for residents' groups, at least until the £67 million ($93.3 million) pot allocated to the project is all used up. For more detail and comment on this announcement, see this story from our sister site, Telecoms.com.

  • Helios Towers has decided against launching an IPO in London, Reuters reports. Shareholders in the company apparently got cold feet about the plan, which had been expected to raise around £2 billion ($2.78 billion). No reason has been given for the change of heart.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has restructured its Data Privacy Advisory Board so that it places a greater emphasis on data-related ethical issues, with more academics being brought into the fold. The changes, says the operator, have been made in response to the advent of paradigm-shaking technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

  • In similar territory, the UK's data privacy watchdog says it no longer has a beef with WhatsApp after the messaging service committed to not sharing the personal data of its users with parent company Facebook . As Reuters reports, the watchdog opened its investigation into WhatsApp in 2016, after the platform revised its privacy policy, saying it would share user-related information with the wider Facebook "family."

  • Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has appointed Andrey Kamensky its new chief financial officer. For the last seven years, Kamensky has been working in financial planning and related areas for Sistema PJSFC, an investment company with interests in a range of sectors, including telecom.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Duh! 3/16/2018 | 12:11:24 PM
    Nice jobs if you can get one OpenReach needs 3,500 engineers (we call them technicians on our side of the pond), plus however many they've got now, to pass 3M premises in about than a year and a half? AT&T did that many in 2017 and is supposed to do the same in 2018. I wonder how many contractors are working on that project?
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