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BT to recruit 150 broadband engineers following criticism it faced a shortage

An ex-BT executive told Parliament last month BT was worried about engineer numbers

BT Openreach has revealed that it plans to hire 150 permanent full-time engineers to aid its superfast broadband rollout, following criticism last month that it was facing a shortage in numbers.

The new recruits will start their jobs in May this year and will be part of a mobile engineering workforce that can be deployed anywhere in the UK to help install broadband to homes and businesses.

This news comes shortly after an ex-BT executive, Lorne Mitchell, told a parliamentary committee that BT is anxious that it does not have enough engineers available to it.

"I know people in BT who are concerned about the capacity problem within BT to deliver [its exchange upgrade programme]. There aren't enough people on the ground to face this problem," said Mitchell.

He provided an example in Kent, the area where Mitchell lives and is working on a community project to deliver broadband to residents and businesses, where 80 percent of exchanges have no plan to be upgraded.

BT, however, denied the claims put to the committee and pointed to the recruitment of 500 ex-armed forces personnel last year it enlisted to work as engineers.

In other news, O2 owned ISP BE Broadband has issued a statement that it will not be launching a full fibre service across its network in 2012 as it had planned.

In a blog post it stated that it was not "making very good progress", but did not give specific reasons for the delay.

The blog reads: "Many of you told us you were prepared to wait for a fibre service from BE, so we're sorry to bring you this news and for keeping you waiting.

"We're still looking into launching a service on a limited basis later this year, combining our unshaped, unlimited network with the higher speeds of fibre-to-the-cabinet. It's just taking much longer than we'd like."

The government has committed a minimum of £730m up until 2015 to support the rollout of next generation broadband networks across the UK, in a bid to meet Chancellor George Osborne's aim of creating the best superfast network in Europe by 2015.

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