The City of London plans to reinvent itself as a tech start-up hub offering cheaper offices and state-of-the-art broadband.
The City Corporation has published a report setting out its vision of the Square Mile for the next five years in response to the pandemic.
The Square Mile has been empty during the pandemic as office workers work from home, with many predicting swathes of empty office buildings as commuters drift back only to London. Many businesses have or are planning to downsize their City headquarters. Others have given up on having any kind of headquarters at all.
The first plank of the City’s regeneration will be for it to offer an ecosystem to support high-growth tech-led businesses. This ecosystem will work with the private sector to provide workspace, advice and digital skills.
The Square Mile’s broadband will be upgraded to offer 5G throughout by the end of 2022 and, crucially, this new tech ecosystem will include connecting start-ups with City capital in joined-up thinking.
Cornerstone, the joint venture between Vodafone and Telefónica, will launch the pilot 5G scheme this week along Queen Victoria Street.
The City Corporation will also offer tech-driven businesses complete access to its data on working behaviours, travel and how streets are used, enabling tech businesses to pilot data-driven solutions.
Meanwhile the existing City Business Library will reopen on May 10 rebranded as the Small Business Research and Enterprise Centre.
Other measures to regenerate the Square Mile after Covid-19 include creating 1,500 new homes out of unwanted office space by 2030 and offering cheap rents to encourage the arts and the creative sector.