LCCI joins campaign to bring superfast broadband to central London

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

 

LCCI joins campaign to bring superfast broadband to central London

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is supporting a campaign by Westminster City Council urging residents and businesses to act to bring superfast fibre broadband to central London.

According to a recent report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills, London (with an average broadband speed of 25.44 Mbps) ranks just 26th against all European cities when it comes to internet connection quality. That's only two spots higher on the list than Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina (13.41 Mbps) and pales in comparison to 1st place Bucharest, Romania, which enjoys average download speeds of 80.14 Mbps.

It means London, the UK's digital hub, has dropped four places on the league tables since 2009. In fact, even by UK standards, London is lagging behind, with the capital only ranked 38th for average broadband speeds among the top 40 British cities.

BT Openreach, a BT Group business, is currently assessing demand for residential-grade superfast fibre broadband in Westminster and has said it will consider investing in new fibre networks provided demand exists. Both LCCI and Westminster know that this demand is there, and is now asking Westminster's 43,000 businesses to officially express interest.

Westminster City Council has set up a website where residents and businesses can register their interest in the superfast fibre broadband services available via the Openreach network: www.westminster.gov.uk/broadband  

Councillor Philippa Roe, Leader of Westminster City Council and Chairman of the West End Partnership said: "All major cities require fast and reliable broadband to compete internationally and Westminster is no exception. Westminster is a hub for high-growth industries such as media, design, digital and telecommunications - all of which rely on fast connections. Yet many of these businesses simply can't afford expensive business-grade broadband.

"We are calling on broadband providers to complete their fibre networks in Westminster and bring high-speed communications to the small and medium businesses that are the driving force behind the UK economy."

Colin Stanbridge, LCCI Chief Executive, said: "The state of London's archaic broadband infrastructure is deplorable. How can London remain an internationally competitive city if businesspeople do not have access to reliable internet connectivity? With some of the UK's densest concentrations of tech firms in our capital, we must ensure that businesses have the services they need to thrive and grow.

"We urge central London businesses to join this call for better broadband for our city and put pressure on both the government and service providers."       

Residential-grade superfast broadband services are available across the vast majority of Britain and London, however according to Ofcom just 47% of Westminster's premises currently have access to superfast broadband, despite being home to key economic hubs such as the West End where start-ups and entrepreneurs depend on fast connection speeds. 

Help bring superfast fibre broadband to Westminster. Register your interest at: www.westminster.gov.uk/broadband  

 

ENDS

Media contact
Sophie Mew, Policy and Public Affairs Officer
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897                 
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
E: smew@londonchamber.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  1. London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
  2. Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.
  3. Britain's capital has slumped to 26th place in the league table of European capitals, left behind by rivals like Berlin, Dublin and Vienna.
  4. The data showed London had a speed more than 10Mbps slower than the European average of 36.4Mbps.
  5. Downloads in London take three times as long in London compared with Paris - and were half the speed achieved in isolated Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.