Think tank warns that the capital’s poor broadband infrastructure could hinder its competitiveness, as London trails behind cities like York, Coventry and Edinburgh
‘Gigabit Cities’ enjoy download and upload speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. There are more than 100 Gigabit operations worldwide, and in the UK more than 37 cities are already on track for Gigabit City status. But London is not among them.
A new poll commissioned by the Foundation for Information Society Policy (FISP) reveals a lack of confidence among Londoners in the city’s broadband infrastructure, urging the think tank’s experts to call on the next mayor to address what has become London’s achilles heel.
According to the poll, a sixth of Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speed and only a third believe the capital is ready to meet future broadband demands. The poll surveyed a sample of 1,167 adults in London.
FISP members see these statistics as a clear sign that the market has failed to provide high-speed, future-proofed broadband services, which are already up and running in dozens of cities around the world.
“Demand for broadband capacity in London is growing rapidly, but the capital’s broadband, based largely on old networks of copper wires, has a limited future. This dangerous situation will diminish economic and societal growth in the future, unless London’s incoming mayor is able and willing to take drastic action,” David Brunnen, FISP member and an independent telecoms infrastructure expert, commented on the findings.
FISP is challenging London’s mayoral candidates to create a new infrastructure agency – Digital for Londoners (DfL) – dedicated to making London a ‘Gigabit City’ by 2020.
“Slow broadband has a particularly negative impact on those who are trying to work flexibly from home, and on small businesses and start-ups based in people’s homes and reliant on speedy internet to run successful operations,” Brunnen added.
Capital cities competing for investment with London have both fibre connections and access to Gigabit speeds, which can challenge London’s position as a global business hub. Sweden has enjoyed 100Mb/s services since 2005, and is being rolled out in Luxembourg and Ireland over the next few years. Within the UK, York, Coventry, Bristol, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow are already Gigabit Cities.