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back to article BT to slap overalls on 1,000 new bods in fibre broadband boost

BT hopes to hire 1,000 engineers to pump high-speed fibre internet connections to street-side junction boxes, homes and businesses in Britain. The recruitment drive is part of the national telco's £2.5bn investment in its broadband network. BT said that once the jobs are filled, it will have 6,000 engineers working on the …

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Execellent

So can I have my exchange added to the list you plan to upgrade?

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Re: Execellent

Being added means nothing. Mine was supposed to be completed last September

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Re: Execellent

Getting the exchange work done doesn't even seem to mean you are even one step further towards being able to have the service. We were promised our exchange would be updated in Oct 2011. In Oct 2011 the bastards slipped the exchange back to Dec 2012, come Dec 2012 they say 31st.. come the 31 they say our box would be March 2013, come March 2013 the bastards say HA HA HA when we said March, we didn't really mean 2013, OH no, we meant March 2014. Bastards even replaced our junction box to heighten everyone's expectations.

Perhaps having some more techies on the ground might mean they'll actually do some work rather than just try their damnedest to piss off their customers.

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Re: Execellent

Probably find that the local competition has been seen off so BT can put off their investment for a while.

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Re: Execellent

The main Stevenage exchange was done yonks ago. They haven't done the cabinet at the end of our road, though! Neighbours have a choice of high-speed service, having both Virgin Media and BT Infinity. We languish with ~4Mbit connections wondering if OpenReach will ever deign us worthy of an upgrade...

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@Locky

Yep, most of Aberdeen city was supposed to be September. Now we're being told June...

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Re: @Locky

And here I am in a town in Gloucestershire with a connection at about 59mbps!

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Re: Execellent

Yes - its take openreach two years after the original date to ready my exchange only to find that in the two years someone else has installed services where they were going to put the street cabinet. Oh how I laughed when I dug that out of the openreach online systems that BT retail and BT customer services said they couldn't access.

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Re: Execellent

I thought the whole town was now enabled. I recently got fibre through Sky (Chells area)

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Re: Execellent

The local exchange here in Peebles is already done. Guess what? There's still no bastarding ISP taking orders for fibre yet.

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Re: Execellent

Sadly not - lets just say that there is a small "estate" in Chells where an old school used to be with about 250 houses/flats. And the one cabinet that feeds all of these has been missed off the upgrade plans.

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Oh whoop-de-doo

Good news, but do the politicos think we'll forget everything else they've done/not done, and really believe getting BT to roll out some fibre will make everyone suddenly want to vote Lib-Dem-Tory-Bankercrat? (and as the Labour lot down in the Bay have ignored us in the priority roll-out, I assume they reckon that's guaranteed to make me want to vote Labour) Ho hum, looks like Plaid again.

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Unhappy

Re: Oh whoop-de-doo @Pen-y-gors

"but do the politicos think we'll forget everything else they've done/not done"

Unfortunately the masses will...

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Anonymous Coward

apprentices

> 400 apprentices, ex-squaddies and some long-term unemployed

Glad to see you hiring apprentices. BT has a deservedly good reputation in this area.

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Re: apprentices

All these categories imply much cheaper labour than all the ex-BT employees who are qualified and had done the job for years or even decades before being made redundant. Even if it was mostly the old technology they were used to, a bit of retraining on pulling fibre rather than copper would surely be cheaper than training from scratch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: apprentices

Pulling in the fibre to the cabinet isn't the only part of the story though. I'd imagine training on the cabinets and electronics is quite significant. What used to be a largely manual job with multimeters and oscillators being the highest technology in the technician's toolkit has changed dramatically. Not all of the people who worked the old way could, or would want to, work in the new way.

Aren't there some difficult tax rules around people who take redundancy from a company and then go back to work for them directly again? To my knowledge BT's redundancies have always been voluntary so those people chose, rather than were forced, to leave. Why would they want to work again for a company they voluntarily chose to leave?

From the article on here recently about the technology Openreach are using to help techs in their jobs, it would appear that anyone who left more than, say, five years ago would need to start from scratch.

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Anonymous Coward

Not one of them actually an engineer, I suspect ... all technicians.

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Anonymous Coward

Then you would be wrong. The apprenticeships range from Engineering and Delivery to Software Engineer and

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Engineer

Engineering has a problem, that of identity.

When the photocopier breaks it has a sign put on it saying "engineer will be here soon". No, no (s)he won't. A bunch of highly brainy and talented people designed the machine and all of its workings. They were engineers. Then a bunch of equally clever people worked out how to make it. They were engineers. Some bloke with a screwdriver is not an engineer, as AC notes he's a technician.

Engineering is a profession - that's why there are institutes for its different branches. You pass exams and all sorts to be admitted. THEN you can call yourself an engineer. It's a badge that must be earned. Sadly the engineering professions have let that slip, so world+dog uses the term.

You don't call the nurse a doctor because (s)he isn't a doctor - (s)he has done lots of training, but not that training. You don't call a Vet a Doctor, despite the massive commonality of the two professions.

I have just built a watercooled PC and installed an OS on it. That does not make me an electrical engineer or a software engineer. I'm just a bloke with a screwdriver, too much time on his hands and a few cuts from hidden sharp bits in the case.

Engineers - be proud. Stand tall. You are the future, just as you were the future in the past. Make these people earn the bloody badge, not just be able to use it.

All this from an accountant.

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Re: Engineer

I consider myself an engineer; I write software for a living. There is no badge I can get that certifies me as an engineer. Why should only traditional forms of technology with outdated institutions have the right to count engineers amongst the ranks of their practitioners?

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Re: Engineer

Well said sir! As a Software Engineer and member of IEEE, I wholly concur.

The bloke that fits a bit to the broken washing machine is a fitter or technician. Great Britain has a proud tradition of great engineers: Watt, Brunel, Cockerell - to name a few. These men triumphed where others failed, perspired when others gave up and built the empire we once had and nation we have now. None of these men lay about watching Jeremy Kyle and claiming the dole. Britain, rise up, seek and inspire. We need a new generation of engineering greats!

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Re: Engineer

The word Engineer comes from the Latin word for "cleverness", so personally I think any smartarse should get to call themselves an Engineer.

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Re: Engineer

Agreed! The term engineer has been seriously degraded. Not only did I go to engineering college, I had to be licensed by the state. When I sign off on a project I am forever (for all intents and purposes anyway) held liable for the soundness and quality if the design. There are severe civil and criminal penalties that can be levied against me should my design fail. Being an engineer isn't just a job title, it is a responsibility that is earned through years of study.

It is annoying to no end when software developers and the cable technician call themselves engineers. It should be illegal to call them such.

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Re: Engineer

Main thread: Don't expect fibre broadband in a hurry, BT have been making lousy progress and feeble excuses for 2 years where I am, 3 miles from Cambridge. BT have no effective competition. Someone call the Competition Commission.

And.... all you fine Engineers are correct. Trouble is that in Europe it's Ingineur but an engine is a motor/moteur, different words you see? But in English they have the same root, so the chaps who tended to the coal mine pumps and who stoked the fires in the steam locomotives became known as engineers, and we are never getting away from that. In Europe, Technician is also desirable and respected for a job title, but over here, despite many Technicians training and studying hard to learn their job, they still want to be called Engineers. Don't get me started on management consultants talking bollocks about "business process re-engineering" and bankers selling "products". Rant over.

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IT Angle

Re: Engineer

You can become a chartered engineer through BCS.

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Re: Engineer

Err I think you're getting a bit confused there, this is not black and white. Most electronic products and systems now depend heavily on software engineers who are every bit as responsible, intelligent and well qualified as civil engineers. You try re-training a squaddie to write device drivers, communications protocol stacks and signal processing code. Granted they don't have to sign off bridges and tunnels and buildings which could kill people if cheap concrete had been used, but be careful who you slag off. You know your iPhone/Blackberry/Android? Its complexity makes the last car park you built look like it was made by navvies with shovels and a bucket. See what I did there?

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Re: Engineer

From a teacher: "The difference between an Engineer and a Technician is the maths."

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Re: Engineer

Another difference is that an engineer is also well trained in humanities, philosophy and various sociological issues. Most, even highly trained technicians, are trained in their given task(s) but learn nothing about the larger issues with which their creations interact with.

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Can't come soon enough

Recently moved home, after having infinity for two years dropping back to 16 meg is a nightmare. Entire family has got far to used to everyone using the net at once, downloads Netflix online gaming plus a couple of mobile devices browsing all at the same time. Feels like we have gone back to the 20th century at the moment. My current exchange is due to be done by the end of next year so anything to improve on that is welcome news.

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Re: Can't come soon enough

16Meg?!!!!!!!!

I would kill for that!

Best we have here is 5.7M and that's assuming that the weather outside is good. When it's chucking it down with rain signal quality dives to closer to 2.2M and despite my complaints to my ISP, I'm being told that BT don't believe this is possible (rain interfering with electrical equipment "just isn't possible" apparently!)

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Re: Can't come soon enough

Who's your ISP? If it's TalkTalk or Plus.net then they have very good forums that can help with this.

Otherwise just lob in a formal complaint though http://www.ispa.org.uk/consumers/complaints/ and keep pushing.

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Unhappy

Re: Can't come soon enough

"rain interfering with electrical equipment "just isn't possible" apparently!"

Water getting into a junction box. Very common (happened to us and engineer found box on pole full of water). Eventually the joint will corrode.

Trouble is getting BT to act on anything is very hard.

We have a tree sitting on a line near our house. It's slowly pulling the pole down with it.

I phoned the leccy board and they came out within 4 hours and cut the tree so it was free of their line (but not the BT line as apparently they can't touch that). BT came out, looked at what remained, sucked much air through their teeth and concluded they wouldn't do anything until the line actually broke.

How much time and labour would it be to fix the pole and fit a whole new line compared to just chainsawing the tree? Meanwhile every day I drive past a fallen tree sitting on the phone line knowing that one day the connection may start to give up and I'll have the usual job convincing BT there is a problem.

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Re: Can't come soon enough

this may be relevant http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/07/uk_rainfall/ ....

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Re: Can't come soon enough

Yeah, down to 16 meg?!?!? I've been stuck in 5 meg for years, which I've been ok with as the connection has been rock stable with no issues at all, but now BE sold their soul to the devil (Sky) it's time I took advantage of the new green fiber box on the street that's a stones throw from my front door...

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Thumbs up

Normally rather cynical about this sort of thing, but if they are serious and these are new additional jobs (not just replacements for people "retiring") then I would be quite pleased. The national infrastructure needs to be kept up to date and they cannot do that effectively without the live bodies to do the physical work of installation and maintenance.

Just a shame that it has taken so long to get this organised; but better late than never.

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100,000 homes getting super-fast broadband "each week"

27 million households in the UK.

That's 270 weeks. That's 5 years. Given that the figures are already established so they've been doing 100,000 homes each week for a while, that the growth will happen quicker now it's established, that demand will drive people forward, let's call it four.

So in 2017, we should all have super-fast broadband, then? Pretty sure everyone was saying that back in 2000 as well. And 2004. And 2008. And 2012.

Methinks that actually that won't happen and we'll have the same as we do now - 50% of people on some ridiculously fast package with stupid limits, the rest on something bare and basic, but 10% with nothing at all whatsoever in the way of actual usable Internet connections.

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Anonymous Coward

As former CEO Ben Verwaayen used to say...

...what's good for BT is good for GB.

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Is this the same 1000 people they said they were hiring six months ago? If it is old information, is it good enough for a company that measures it's profits in the thousands of millions?

http://www.supplymanagement.com/news/2012/bt-profits-rescued-by-heavy-cost-cutting/

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FAIL

Here's the deal

If you already have fast broadband chances are BT will upgrade your street because its in an "easier" area. If you are in an area where you get less than 2 meg, forget it for 10 years.

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Perhaps

They can work out how to enable Exchange Only lines at the same time! No fibre for me :( Not yet anyway LOL

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Re: Perhaps

I *THINK* your shit out of luck unless your willing to pay for FTTP, which I will gladly do as soon as it is available.....

I am in the same situation, Exchange Only Line....

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Not just the exchange

My exchange is currently in the latter stages of the upgrade, due for completion by the end of the month.

My cabinet will still be long lenght rusty wired adsl and will continue to be so for decades after the shiney openreach vans have driven off to pastures new.

Upgrading your exchange is not all it's cracked up to be; but I bet my area will be listed officially as fibre enabled for targets purposes.

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Re: Not just the exchange

I live in Shoreditch, right next to Tech City. My exchange has been upgraded of course, but there are no plans to do the same to my cabinet. Virgin won't run a cable to my building. An upgraded exchange for me means the worst internet I've had for over 5 years.

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Mushroom

Meanwhile, it's been 4 months and OpenReach still haven't installed copper for my flats. In London. Next to a FTTC cabinet.

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Anonymous Coward

While I hold BT's sales and customer service in great contempt...

I will admit that proper Openreach peeps are great and are very helpful. It's the levels of customer disservice between you and them that's the problem.

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perhaps

They'll hire enouigh to actually keep their vdsl installation appointments instead of simply never showing up.

One can hope.

As for "exchange only" - if people are that close, then all it takes is the ISP to drop in VDSL kit and it'd work, but that appears to be too hard (as is putting a "FTTC cabinet" outside the exchange).

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Anonymous Coward

Got so annoyed I wrote to my MP

BT forever pushing the date back, and the lack of info about cabinets. Turns out they do have this info as they could tell my MP that they had decided my cabinet was not economically viable. Ie your not ever getting it.

Oh how much do I hate BT.

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FTTP

All new shiny upgraded exchange and cabinets all over Hereford. Problem is that the cabinet 50m from the house isn't the one our lines connect to. Oh no that's much too easy. Our lines connect to a cabinet over a mile away and line is old and crappy and can't support the projected 10MBPS promised. The line maxes out at 5MBPS even though line tests in the house by the engineer shows 10MBPS. Once he runs a Speedtest.net test it shows 5MBPS. Strange that.......

Easy I say! Our lines go literally straight past the nice new cabinet so hook us up to that one! After 10 visits to the house and countless exchange tests etc I'm told that BT Openreach engineers have no ability to order that a property be connected to a new cabinet. No ability in the sense that there simply isn't a form to request a job order and they've been expressly told not to offer cabinet changes.

In the meantime I report a fault on the line once a week to the ISP which drives them nuts and one day the cost for BT to continuously dig up parts of a 1 mile line to cabinet may encourage them to do the intelligent thing.

Fail because adding staff to the project is only as good as the quality of the work produced. This smacks of a box ticking exercise to fulfil a government agreed target.

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