Next London mayor should push for 1Gb broadband, says FISP

FISP, the Foundation for Information Society Policy, has concerns about London’s broadband speeds - and calls on the city’s mayoral candidates to make a stand.

A huge number of Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speeds, research revealed, and FISP believes it's high time the capital becomes a 'gigabit city'.

"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," said David Brunnen, a telecoms infrastructure expert and FISP member. "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."

According to a poll by YouGov, one in six Londoners - equating to 1.01 million adults - are unhappy with their broadband speed. Only one-third of respondents, and a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds, think London is capable of meeting their broadband needs in the future.

The solution, FISP says, is to bring 1Gb broadband to the capital - something already present in more than 20 cities across the UK.

The society said in a statement: "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."

The case for making London a gigabit city is backed up by a number of prominent voices from the capital, including Jonathan Glanz of Westminster Council, the London Policy and Resources Committee, and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Sue Terpilowski OBE, London policy chair for the FSB, 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."

UK cities that have already achieved gigabit status include Bristol, Coventry, Edinburgh, and York - perhaps it's time for London to join them.

Source: FISP

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