OPENREACH is to create 30 jobs in Dorset and 200 in the South West next year as it improves its networks and connects people to ultra-fast ‘full fibre’ broadband.

The BT-owned infrastructure company says its expansion will create more than 2,500 full time jobs in its own business as well as an estimated 2,800 in its supply chain.

It has also made a commitment to convert all its 27,000 vehicles, the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, to electric by 2030.

Openreach aims for its full fibre programme to reach 20million homes and businesses by the mid to late 2020s if the right investment conditions exist. It says it is delivering faster and more reliable internet to 40,000 more homes and businesses each week.

Full fibre is already a reality in dozens of locations in the South West, including in Gillingham.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found a nationwide full-fibre broadband network would boost UK productivity by £59billion by 2025 and could help nearly a million more people into jobs by allowing them to work at home – including more than 300,000 carers, nearly 250,000 older workers and 400,000 parents. The economic benefit for the south west could be up to £4.3bn.

Openreach regional director Connie Dixon said: “As a major employer and infrastructure builder, we believe Openreach can play a leading role in helping the UK to build back better and greener.

“Our full fibre network build is going faster than ever and we’re now looking for people across the South West to build a career with Openreach and help us upgrade broadband connections and continue improving service levels throughout the region. We’re also investing in our supply chain, which will support the creation of thousands of jobs based all over the UK.

“We know the network we’re building can deliver a host of green benefits – from consuming less power to enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips - and we’re going to take that a step further, by committing to build and maintain that network using state of the art electric vehicles across our 27,000-strong fleet. We’ll have completely transitioned to EVs by 2030.”

Its initiative was backed by chancellor Rishi Sunak, who said: “Throughout this crisis I’ve been clear that our number one economic priority is to protect jobs, so I’m delighted to welcome this announcement of 5,000 new skilled roles.

“We’re investing billions of pounds across the UK as part of our Plan for Jobs to ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity.”

More than 3.5m premises can now order a gigabit capable Full Fibre broadband service from a range of competing service providers using Openreach’s new network.