Openreach Recognized for Advancing Ultrafast Broadband in Wales

Members of the Welsh Affairs Committee recently visited Openreach’s state-of-the-art National Learning Centre for Wales to witness the commendable efforts in bringing ultrafast full fibre broadband to Wales, bridging the digital divide and ensuring that communities across the region have access to cutting-edge internet infrastructure.

The committee, led by Chair Stephen Crabb MP, alongside Ruth Jones MP, Ben Lake MP, and Rob Roberts MP, toured the multi-million pound learning centre located in Newport. The centre, inaugurated by Welsh Government First Minister Mark Drakeford in 2021, serves as a crucial hub for training and re-skilling Openreach engineers who are responsible for building the ultrafast network.

This center provides engineers with an opportunity to experience a typical working day, involving tasks such as laying cables, building joints, making repairs, working underground, climbing telephone poles, and installing new services inside homes and businesses. The facility even features a replica street designed to replicate real-world network conditions. It welcomes around 10,000 new and existing Openreach engineers from Wales and beyond every year.

During their visit, committee members actively engaged in the training exercises undertaken by Openreach engineers, including experiencing the intricate process of splicing fibre optic glass cables.

Committee Chair Stephen Crabb MP expressed his appreciation for Openreach’s emphasis on continuous learning and development, as well as their unwavering commitment to health and safety. He also acknowledged the vital role of fast, reliable broadband in contemporary life and congratulated Openreach for its energy and investment in expanding the ultrafast network across Wales.

Openreach Wales Board Chair Kim Mears hosted the visit, highlighting the tireless efforts of Openreach engineers in bringing ultrafast broadband to Wales and the significant benefits it entails. The recent announcement that more than 700,000 homes and businesses in Wales can now access some of the fastest, most reliable broadband in Europe reflects Openreach’s dedication to narrowing the digital divide.

Engineers are actively extending the full fibre network to reach even more homes and businesses in areas like Pencoed, Porthmadog, Criccieth, and Llangennech. In the past 12 months, over 200,000 Welsh properties have gained access to ultrafast broadband, underlining Openreach’s mission to provide advanced internet infrastructure.

Full fibre technology, being up to 16 times faster than the average UK broadband connection and significantly more reliable than the old copper-based networks it replaces, is revolutionizing digital connectivity in Wales and driving its digital future forward

Jonny Rae

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