Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Wildanet

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak found out first-hand about how Wildanet is creating jobs and transforming connectivity for communities in Cornwall and Devon  (and even learned how to splice fibre-optic cable) during a visit to the company’s Liskeard headquarters.

Mr Sunak, who was on the campaign trail in Cornwall making a policy announcement on apprenticeships, met with Wildanet's management team and staff and toured the Wildanet Technical Training Academy – where he spoke to apprentices enrolled in a ground-breaking new apprenticeship programme developed with Truro and Penwith College.

Our apprentices demonstrated some of the high-tech equipment Wildanet is using to build a gigabit-capable broadband network in the South West. And there were cheers as the Prime Minister was guided through successfully splicing together a pair of microscopic fibre-optic strands at his first attempt.

Wildanet, founded in 2017 to bring high-speed internet to rural and hard-to-reach areas in the South West, is rapidly growing its fibre broadband network in the region, transforming connectivity for communities where it operates. It is the largest AltNet (Alternative Network Provider) in Cornwall and has grown to become a major regional employer, more than doubling its workforce in the last 18 months to over 220 staff as well as driving significant economic activity and employment through its commitment to using local businesses in its supply chain.

The Prime Minister’s visit included meeting some of the more than 30 veterans employed by Wildanet, which is a proud supporter of the Armed Forces Covenant. And Mr Sunak saw training taking place in Wildanet’s innovative pole-field, where engineers can be safely trained in scaling and operating on utility (or telegraph) poles up 9m (30ft) tall.

Helen Wylde-Archibald, Wildanet CEO said: “We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Wildanet for what was a relaxed and informal visit where he could see first-hand the great work we are doing with our own apprentices.

“It was good to have the opportunity to brief him on Wildanet’s work with national and local government, our local communities and a wide range of partners to drive connectivity, digital inclusion and social and economic opportunities in Cornwall and Devon.

“For our colleagues, it was an exciting insight into the organisation which goes into a visit by the Prime Minister, his entourage and accompanying media and we were all very proud to see our team members, apprentices and veterans talking with passion to Mr Sunak about their work at Wildanet.”

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