TELECOMS giant BT has announced a major recruitment drive across the UK, as it seeks to add 1,600 engineers to Openreach, its networks business.

Openreach, which has responsibility for the overall network on behalf of most phone companies, supports 19 million properties that take high-speed fibre lines.

It said the new recruits will help it improve customer service and bring the technology to more homes.

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The business expects a significant number of the engineering roles to be taken up by ex-service men and women. Openreach said it wants to recruit more female engineers.

Openreach chief executive Joe Garnersaid: "Millions of customers depend on broadband and they rely on us to keep them connected."