“Full Fibre Broadband Revolutionizes Wales,” Says Shadow Secretary of State Jo Stevens During Visit to Openreach Learning Centre

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Jo Stevens, accompanied by Shadow Wales Minister Gerald Jones MP, embarked on a visit to Openreach’s National Learning Centre in Newport. The purpose of the visit was to gain insights into the significant strides being taken to introduce ultrafast full fibre broadband across Wales.

This multi-million-pound learning centre, located in Newport, offers trainee Openreach engineers a unique opportunity to learn the ropes and hone their skills within a replica street. This street, constructed from scratch, faithfully replicates the real-world network environment.

Officially opened by the First Minister of the Welsh Government, Mark Drakeford, in 2021, the centre provides engineers with a hands-on experience of a typical working day. This includes tasks such as laying cables, constructing joints, performing repairs, working underground, climbing telephone poles, and installing new services in customers’ homes and businesses.

During their visit, both Jo Stevens and Gerald Jones witnessed firsthand some of the training that Openreach engineers undergo, including the challenging task of climbing telegraph poles. They also had the opportunity to try their hand at splicing fibre, a critical process where two ends of fibre optic glass cable are fused together.

Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff Central, expressed the fundamental importance of connectivity to communities and commended Openreach for their dedication to expanding their ultrafast network nationwide. She highlighted the transformative potential of full fibre broadband and expressed her eagerness to collaborate with Openreach to ensure Wales and the rest of the UK can fully embrace the economic and social benefits it offers.

Gerald Jones, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, shared his observations on the positive impact of full fibre broadband on his constituents. He lauded Openreach’s investments in the learning and development of their workforce and emphasized the training opportunities provided at the Newport learning centre, which will benefit the entire nation as the full fibre network is rolled out and maintained across the country.

Kim Mears, Openreach Wales Board Chair, played host to the visit and underscored the pivotal role of the National Learning Centre for Wales in Openreach’s full fibre deployment strategy across the nation. She highlighted the company’s commitment to building full fibre broadband quickly, extensively, and with exceptional quality, leveraging a team of highly skilled locally employed engineers.

Openreach is diligently progressing toward its goal of providing 25 million UK homes and businesses with access to Full Fibre ultrafast broadband. To date, it has already reached over 700,000 properties in Wales. With a workforce of approximately 2,300 in Wales, Openreach boasts the largest team of telecoms engineers and professionals in the nation.

Jonny Rae

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