Saturday, 24 June 2017

1m Londoners unhappy with broadband speed

Information Society Policy
Thursday 31 March 16

An independent group of telecommunications professionals with more than 500 years’ combined experience today warn that London’s broadband infrastructure is so poor it threatens the capital’s ability to compete with other global cities in the future. The warning comes as a new poll by YouGov reveals that a sixth of Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speed (equating to 1.01 million adults in the capital) and that only two thirds rate their broadband service as good. When asked about the capital’s capacity to meet future demands, a third overall and just a quarter of those aged 18 to 24 believe the capital is ready to meet future broadband needs…

An independent group of telecommunications professionals with more than 500 years’ combined experience today warn that London’s broadband infrastructure is so poor it threatens the capital’s ability to compete with other global cities in the future.

The warning comes as a new poll by YouGov reveals that a sixth of Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speed (equating to 1.01 million adults in the capital) and that only two thirds rate their broadband service as good. When asked about the capital’s capacity to meet future demands, a third overall and just a quarter of those aged 18 to 24 believe the capital is ready to meet future broadband needs, with more than one in six (17%) rate the capital’s chances of meeting future broadband needs badly.

The Foundation for Information Society Policy (FISP) said the poll demonstrated that the market had failed businesses and consumers when it came to providing the infrastructure needed to provide high-speed, future-proofed broadband services, which are already up and running in dozens of cities around the world.

David Brunnen, FISP member and an independent telecoms infrastructure expert, says:

“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.

“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.

“Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are already unhappy with their broadband – and unless quick action is taken to support growth and encourage investment, there will be serious repercussions in the near future.”

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.

A Gigabit City would allow all homes and businesses download and upload speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. This would be a first step towards the Institute of Directors’ call for 10 Gigabit services by 2030 and is essential for future 5G mobile plans. Note 4.1

There are more than 100 Gigabit operations worldwide and, across Europe, countries and capital cities competing for investment with London have both future-proofed fibre connections and access to gigabit speeds. Note 4.2 In the UK more than 20 cities are already on track for Gigabit City status but London is not amongst them.

Dan Lewis, Senior Advisor, Infrastructure Policy, Institute of Directors, said:

“There must be greater ambition. Our digital infrastructure needs improvement now, but that is not enough. We must attempt to future-proof it for increased demand.” Note 4.3

Mark Boleat, Chair, City of London Policy and Resources Committee, said:

“London is a leading world City but we are poorly connected - we must work towards London as a true 'Gigabit City' .” Note 4.4

Sue Terpilowski OBE, London Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“Digital connectivity is critical for small businesses in the capital. Nearly a third of our members said that broadband was one of their top three priorities for the new Mayor. There is an expectation that connections are excellent across the capital, but our members report significant frustration with widespread ‘not spots’ and broadband speeds that are lower than in many rural areas”

Councillor Jonathan Glanz, Westminster Council, said:

“Residents and businesses from Maida Vale to Victoria Square via Marylebone and Soho are amazed that they cannot receive superfast broadband in the heart of London. Their frustration at the lack of clarity, the pace of progress and the unambitious targets which fail to take account of future demand leaves them unable to comprehend why the market cannot or will not provide them with cost effective and affordable superfast or ultrafast broadband connectivity.”

A Digital for Londoners agency achieving Gigabit City capabilities will:
• Enhance the lives of Londoners (and their children) and all who work in London
• Boost London’s resilience and its future economy.
• Direct infrastructure providers and investors towards long-term objectives
• Energize London Boroughs to simplify planning processes for all providers.
• Reduce administrative costs and improve services for all public sector agencies


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