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Access to fast broadband in remote areas has become a topic of significant importance in recent years due to its numerous benefits.  This blog explores why the UK government has launched Project Gigabit to enable the accelerated rollout of gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure across the country, particularly in rural and hard-to-reach areas and the challenges this causes telecoms recruiters supporting this roll out.

The project is part of the government's broader commitment to ensuring that all residents have access fast and reliable broadband services, regardless of their location.

Having access to fast broadband is now viewed as a fundamental necessity of life and is considered just like another utility and just as important as having access to gas, electricity and water.


After the de-regulation of the telecom sector, the subsequent boom in the late 90s saw the new telecom operators focus their network build on the major UK towns and cities where there was a high concentration of customers and the deployment of high cost fibre cable could be maximised. It was financially unfeasible and time consuming to deliver the same fibre network to rural and remote areas and therefore these areas were simply ignored.

The new operators often came from America with their Cable TV (e.g. Nynex, Comcast) technology or were companies that knew how to build ducted cabled networks, like the electricity DNO’s (e.g. Scottish Power, Norweb).

Simultaneously, BT had an extensive redundancy programme to downsize which then fuelled the demand for the skills in the new telecom sector.  BT reduced its workforce from 239,000 in 1990 to 137,500 in 1995.

By the early 2000’s there was potentially too much, unused fibre in the ground and not enough customers. The new operators focused on picking up new business customers in a saturated market and the cable TV operators consolidated and merged to become the single operator we see today in Virgin Media. Many companies became bankrupt or went in to Chapter 11 and after further de-regulation, newer players could enter the market without even building their own network by offering products such as CPS (Carrier Pre-select)

For more than a decade only a minimal amount of fibre network build happened and the demand for those that could design and build fibre networks dipped. It was not until BDUK initiative launched, promising every person in the UK access to fast, fibre powered broadband that things changed, particularly for those in rural and remote areas.

Now there is a new generation of alternative network operators who are building networks to get fibre to every home (FTTH) across the UK. 

What is BDUK and Project Gigabit and exactly how does it positively impact remote and rural locations?

Project Gigabit is an initiative launched by the UK government aimed at delivering fast broadband to as many homes and businesses in rural and remote areas where internet connectivity is often limited or non-existent.

By providing gigabit-speed internet connections, the government aims to boost economic growth, improve productivity, support innovation, and enhance the quality of life for residents in underserved remote communities.


  • The government has committed significant funding to support the rollout of gigabit capable broadband infrastructure through Project Gigabit. This includes both public and private investment and partnerships with private sector providers.
  • The project is part of the UK government's broader strategy to invest in digital infrastructure and support the country's transition to a high-speed, high-capacity broadband network.

Target areas

  • Project Gigabit prioritises rural and hard-to-reach areas that are currently underserved by broadband providers. These areas often lack access to high-speed internet due to the challenges associated with deploying infrastructure in remote locations.
  • By targeting these areas, the government aims to close the digital divide and ensure that all communities have access to the same opportunities.


  • Project Gigabit supports the deployment of various technologies to deliver gigabit-capable broadband, including full-fibre networks, fixed wireless access, and satellite broadband.
  • Full-fibre networks, in particular these are considered the gold standard for gigabit-speed internet connectivity, offering the fastest and most reliable broadband connections. The government encourages the expansion of full-fibre infrastructure as part of its efforts to future-proof the UK's digital infrastructure.

Roadmap to success

  • Driven by defined timelines and measurable milestones, Project Gigabit operates with a keen focus on progress tracking and efficient delivery.

How can telecoms recruitment services play a part in this initiative?

Let's delve into the resourcing dynamics at play here. Alternative network companies are now venturing into parts of the UK where the only consumer/B2C telecom infrastructure was built by British Telecom in the 1950’s. Equally, there is often only a minimal physical network presence from B2B/business telecom providers too.

So here's the challenge: Telecoms recruiters need to source seasoned telecoms engineers in these remote areas where they’ve never been required before. It’s difficult, but there are different ways to tackle this talent sourcing challenge by working closely and in an agile manner with our clients.

We might work with a client to dilute a single, traditional, seemingly technical telecom job role in to multiple smaller, easily trainable chunks. For example, a traditional Network Design Engineer may spend their time split between site surveying and desk based detailed design. The detailed design requires deep engineering knowledge; however the surveying element is easily trainable provided candidates have good attention to detail and are happy with an active, outdoor role.

Sourcing hidden talents

Here's where the magic happens: how do we source these hidden talents? It's about reframing career pathways and presenting telecoms as an enticing prospect for those who might not have considered it before. Whether it's engaging with your local barista or tapping into the adventurous spirit of diving enthusiasts, we're adept at showcasing the diverse opportunities available within the telecoms industry.

When working with clients, our focus is on streamlining roles to emphasise core technical responsibilities while identifying areas where telecom-specific knowledge isn't essential and can be easily trained.

For telecom civils roles, John Noonan leverages his deep, local knowledge within the utilities, construction, and gas and electric cable/pipeline installation sectors and will look to take talent from these industries into telecoms.

Additionally, we scout for individuals with telecom knowledge in the local area, ensuring a comprehensive talent pool. Many of these telecoms specialists live in Devon and Cornwall but maybe travelling outside the region, across to the South East or Midlands for example.

When sourcing candidates for these roles, we highlight the attractive telecoms opportunities within Devon and Cornwall. The key driver for many job seekers now is the fact that progression is swift and recognition is also readily attainable. Exceptional performance can lead to rapid promotion—some even within six months.

While the telecom industry can be dynamic, budgets can be slightly volatile. ISR provides guidance to navigate potential risks, offering a path to accelerated career growth. For ambitious individuals seeking stability, progression, increased earnings, and greater responsibility, telecom companies present attractive prospects.

Creating opportunities for the next telecoms generation

In addition to this companies are now looking at establishing apprenticeship programmes. Wildanet for example has launched an apprenticeship program aimed at attracting young talent while incorporating experienced individuals who can serve as mentors to their apprentices.

ISR’s recruitment strategy focus is to source candidates locally rather than relying on relocation. Our approach includes tapping into alternative candidate networks, particularly individuals transitioning from the Armed Forces who possess valuable technical skills that could easily be transferred into non-technical telecoms roles.

Furthermore, we collaborate with training providers to offer specialised courses, such as cabling programs, to equip candidates with the necessary skills for the job. We understand that recruiting for new skill sets in emerging fields can be challenging, as many individuals may not initially consider these opportunities. That's why we engage in proactive outreach, reaching out directly to potential candidates to spark their interest and highlight the potential they may not have previously considered.

Despite the evolving nature of the industry, there has been a lack of major recruitment efforts, even in mainstream areas. Pure telcos have been notably absent from the recruitment landscape over the past two decades but thanks to BDUK, there is a new requirement to addressing these gaps and cultivating a diverse workforce equipped to meet the demands of deploying the new modern fast fibre network into remote and rural locations.

Need support with your telecoms recruitment requirements?

We pride ourselves on our telecoms recruitment service and are always pushing boundaries to help improve this for our clients. If you want to find out more about our telecom’s client services in more detail and how we can you help you and your business, contact our team today.