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Firm Delivering £50million North East Fibre Network Launches New Business Talks Programme

IQA Elecnor is to launch Invest South Tyneside's new Business Talks programme early next month.

The fast growing utilities firm established its regional headquarters at Monkton Business Park just before the pandemic in February 2020, bringing jobs and investment to South Tyneside and a boost to the North East economy.

Roger Marsh, Commercial and Business Development Director, IQA Elecnor

Roger Marsh, Commercial and Business Development Director, IQA Elecnor

 Already employing more than 160 people and sub-contracting another 140, IQA Elecnor expects to have created over 500 jobs as it rolls out a series of ambitious multi-million pound broadband connectivity projects.

Roger Marsh, Commercial and Business Development Director at IQA Elecnor, will be the first guest in the new series of Business Talks launched by Invest South Tyneside. He will be interviewed by Ian Farrar and the talk and interactive Q&A session will be live streamed from One Trinity Green's Content Suite at 10am on Friday 9 April.

Following on from 2020's Tech Talks series, the Business Talks will feature an exciting line up of interviews with South Tyneside business leaders, with engaging Q&As and motivational and inspirational takeaways.

Roger Marsh's talk is expected to cover a range of topical issues, from recruitment to finding the right suppliers and build partners, growth and diversification and the post-pandemic climate.

CityFibre, the UK's third national digital infrastructure platform, awarded IQA Elecnor a £50million contract early last year for its Newcastle rollout - making the city one of the first in the UK to benefit from CityFibre's £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme. Eventually, more than eight million homes and businesses across the UK will be connected to high speed.

IQA Elecnor started work on the £50million CityFibre broadband project to place Newcastle in the top tier of internet connectivity in March 2020. The Fibre To The Home (FTTH) project to connect 100,000 homes, businesses and public sector sites in Newcastle is now live with the first customers connected.

This month, construction work also started in North Tyneside to extend the full fibre network, meaning residents and businesses across the borough will soon be able to enjoy the fastest, most reliable connectivity available.

A similar project to connect hundreds of thousands more homes and businesses is expected to begin in Gateshead by the middle of 2021. There are also further opportunities to connect more homes and businesses in other areas, as part of CityFibre's further 216 cities, towns and villages where they plan to deploy their new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTHP) broadband platform in the North East and beyond.

Roger said: "The world will be a different place when we emerge from lockdown, and unemployment is expected to stay at 5-7% for some time. From apprenticeships and graduates to experienced professionals, we're looking to attract people into the industry and our business. We're looking to do things differently and we've been talking to Ex Forces Agencies and starting new personnel through the Government's Kick Start Programme with this in mind.

"Fibre is a growing industry but there are challenges too. We all need better broadband but it's not just about speed, it's also about capacity and downloads and speed to build/ready for service (RFS). As a country our connectivity still falls a long way short of our contemporaries according to the latest data.

"We're ahead of the game and the opportunities and benefits for the area are huge, but we also need to be aware that a big risk is demand. We need to ensure that we don't get too greedy and run the risk of not being able to deliver.

"We've got good relationships with local authorities and other partners, and a good set of build partners & suppliers, but as our projects roll out we will need more and more help to build these large infrastructure projects and deliver to our customers' requirements.

"We want to work with more build partners and contractors on a very localised level across the region, and to invest in the communities in which we build. That's good news for us as a business and it's good news for the local and regional economies.

"We build to stay and we're here for the long term. We're committed to South Tyneside and we're looking at diversification into other utilities and other sectors such as renewables and power so the future is looking bright indeed."

IQA joined the Spanish multinational utility contractor Elecnor Group, which employs 15,000 around the globe, in 2012. IQA Elecnor has its head office in Glasgow, with bases in South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Edinburgh, Liverpool and South Wales.

As well as full fibre broadband networks, IQA Elecnor is also planning to grow and diversify across new markets, including power, electric vehicle charging, renewables and other utilities.

The IQA Elecnor Business Talk will be live streamed from the Invest South Tyneside social media accounts.