BT engineers

BT is bolstering its engineering workforce by 1,600 people in a bid to counter complaints that it takes too long to fix broadband faults.

The announcement of the new jobs is conveniently timed, just a day before Ofcom is set to spell out new measures to ensure that BT repairs faults within two days and installs new lines within 12 days.

The telecoms regulator criticised BT at the end of last year, claiming it was “concerned about how long Openreach [BT’s network division] is taking to complete repairs and installations”.

Openreach doesn’t just fix faults and handle installations for BT itself – it also manages the repairs for BT’s wholesale customers, such as Sky and TalkTalk, who have previously expressed concern about the length of time it takes BT to rectify faults.

BT, which has previously boosted its engineer roster to support its fibre broadband rollout, says it expects a large number of the new recruits to come from the military, as part of its Civilian Work Attachment scheme.

“We want to attract the best in the country to a career in engineering,” said Joe Garner, the head of BT’s networks division, Openreach.

“We are also keen to recruit women, as I’m keen to dispel the myth that being an engineer is an exclusively male vocation. In fact we have many successful women engineers and it is my personal belief that recruiting more will also help our customer service agenda.”

BT said it also plans to come clean about the performance of its engineers. From this summer, the company will “increase transparency around its customer service performance” by publishing regular reports that show if Openreach is meeting its customer service targets.

Its about time. Only time will tell