Ex-armed forces ensure rollout of high-speed broadband in Cumbria is done with military precision
A Brampton man is one of 10 former servicemen leading the technology charge across
After more than 20 years in the RAF, Steve Legg, aged 49, felt it was time for a
Now he’s part of the army of engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach
rolling out high-speed broadband as part of the Connecting Cumbria partnership between BT
and Cumbria County Council.
It might be a far cry from his last job – that of training colleagues how to fix surface-
to-air missile systems - but Steve began his career in the RAF as a telecoms specialist.
Having worked around the world, he’s now part of the team that’s bringing the
worldwide web closer to the people of Cumbria.
Connecting Cumbria will enable 93 per cent of Cumbrian properties to have
access to high-speed fibre broadband by the end of 2015 and other properties to
get speeds of at least two megabits per second.
The Connecting Cumbria partnership builds on BT’s commercial rollout, which
will bring high-speed broadband to more than 112,000 homes and businesses
across Cumbria by the end of this Spring.
Steve joined Openreach – the BT Group business that builds and maintains the local
network available to all communications providers - as a member of a mobile engineering
taskforce which covers Cumbria. He is based in Carlisle and mainly works in the north of the
As a married father of three, no one is more aware than Steve of the importance of
rolling out faster and more reliable internet.
Steve said: “We’re on the internet all the time, so I can’t wait for fibre broadband to
be available in Brampton this Spring. I use it for things like sharing photos of the kids and
they use it for homework and online gaming.”
“In my previous job, communications were often about helping to save people’s lives
on the battlefield. Now what I do with communications is more about enhancing people’s
He added: “Finding the right job after deciding to leave the RAF was really important
to me. I got the idea from my uncle, who also works as an Openreach engineer.
“The work’s great because I love being outdoors - that’s one of the things that
attracted me to the job in the first place. And having started out as a telecoms engineer, I
had the right skills but we’ve all undergone thorough training.
“I’m really passionate about what we’re doing because I know from personal
experience how important what we’re doing is - making faster broadband accessible to more
people as quickly as possible.”
Steve added: “We have a strong sense of teamwork within my mobile unit and I’m
certain a lot of that is down to the military background we all come from.
“Although I had experience in telecoms, it’s been a huge learning curve for me and
all the other ex-forces colleagues.
“When I joined nearly a year ago, the concept of a mobile engineering taskforce was
still quite new, but it’s proving really effective. We all help each other to get the job done, and
that’s also down to the wider team we’re part of, who are helping and advising us all the
Openreach has been working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) - an arrangement between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Right Management, a global talent and career management expert – since 2011.
The CTP provides career guidance along with training and employment support to those leaving the armed forces.