Greek incumbent Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) plans to cut its existing 12,000-strong workforce by 2,000 whilst hiring 500 new staff, according to an announcement from its chairman Panagis Vourloumis, reported by ana-mpa.gr. Vourloumis told reporters that the plan was not a mass voluntary retirement, but a more focused approach based on ‘a quality evaluation of the current workforce.’ Under the plan OTE would offer employees incentives to leave voluntarily, although the CEO did not offer a timetable for its implementation. He added that the global economic downturn had given OTE a ‘very difficult’ last twelve months which he predicted would continue over the coming year.
Vourloumis also reported that, following OTE’s recent announcement that it would roll out VDSL broadband access technology ahead of a delayed state-sponsored fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) project, the telco was already in talks with four municipalities, including Athens and Thessaloniki, to cooperate in deploying VDSL connections offering consumers internet access at speeds of between 24Mbps and 50Mbps. The CEO said the VDSL rollouts would involve deploying ‘fibre to central line distribution boxes’ [analogous to fibre-to-the-node] and could become the first step to implementing wide-ranging infrastructure projects promoted by the Greek government to develop an optical fibre network giving direct access at up to 100Mbps to two million households, budgeted at EUR2.1 billion (USD3 billion), with OTE set to cover 20% of the overall cost. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that the government has so far failed to define OTE’s exact role in the direct fibre project, to be jointly funded by the state, the EU and private operators, whilst the FTTP rollout tenders have been rescheduled from this year to the second quarter of 2010.