LONDON – An innovation centre in Suffolk is set to play a key role in training the next generation of telecoms drone pilots, after a bespoke training area was approved as part of redevelopment plans.
The drone training area is just one part of an exciting development given planning permission this week, as Openreach's Chief Engineers team look to start work at Four Acre, near Brightwell, in the coming months.
Initially, work will include clearing, replacing and modernising some of the existing buildings, as well as the creation of a new 110m2 innovation centre and event space.
Openreach, the UK's largest phone and broadband network, uses drones to help deliver ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to inaccessible places, mainly where vehicles would struggle. Recent examples include taking fibre optic cables across canals and rivers, over a railway line and through very rural areas where crossing a deep valley would be otherwise impossible.
Openreach has a small group of engineers who've already been professionally trained and certified by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly drones commercially.
Previous successes have included using drones to connect properties in Glenmazeran, near Inverness, Pontfadog, near Wrexham, and even crossing around 30 metres of a canal in Greater Manchester.
The new innovation site will build on Openreach's already important role in the East of England. As well as being the network used by the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Zen, more than 3,400 of Openreach's people live and work in the region.
The company has also played a key role in helping make superfast broadband available to more than 96 per cent of homes and businesses, and its ultrafast rollout is gathering pace. We're building in urban areas such as Norwich, and more rural communities including Attleborough, Besthorpe, Great Ellingham, Dereham, Toftwood, Downham Market, Watton, Wymondham (Norfolk) and Bungay, Earsham, Ditchingham (Suffolk).
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