London’s digital economy hindered by poor broadband infrastructure

London falls behind most European capitals when it comes to broadband download speeds

London's digital economy hindered by poor broadband infrastructure

The UK’s digital economy, which is set to rise to £225bn by 2016, may be the envy of Europe but when it comes to broadband infrastructure we are lagging behind.

Figures by Hyperoptic show that London is failing to compete with the rest of Europe’s broadband speeds. With average download speed of 26.3Mpbs – 10Mpbs slower than the European average speed – it is only ranked 26th. Even among UK cities, it is in the dismal 39th position, with Oxford coming out on top.

Since 2009 London has dropped four places among European capital cities and as it stands the top ten are: Luxemburg, Madrid, Dublin, Sarajevo, Minsk, Warsaw, Bucharest, Paris, Vilnius and Belgrade.

If London wants to bolster it’s blossoming digital economy, it will need to partner with outstanding infrastructure. Despite an increased focus from the UK government since 2012, there is a need for a substantial step up in increasing broadband speeds to fulfil the UK government’s ‘super fast’ vision to compete with tech hubs worldwide. 

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, said that the UK government will need to “get it right and we can be Europe’s technology hub, bringing together the best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley in one country with huge competitive advantage in both content and technology.”

Boris Ivanovic, chairman of Hyperoptic, informed that global Internet trafficking doubles every two to three years and that current broadband speeds are not enough to support digital industries. He added: “If the UK wants to maintain its digital leadership there must be a fundamental shift in its urban broadband strategy. The government must incentivise the private sector to fast track the implementation of future-proofed Fibre-to-the-Building and Fibre-to-the-Home infrastructure across all UK cities and towns.”

The Fibre-to-the-Home infrastructure (FTTH) Council Europe, conducted their own research and found that only 0.09% of British homes subscribe to FTTH broadband. The UK doesn’t even appear on the FTTH’s rankings with such a low subscription ranking.

Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe said that “FTTH is the only future-proof way to build broadband access networks, and it is our strongly held view that the socio-economic impact of fibre broadband justifies the investment. Governments need to make the right decisions for the future, not ones based on the past, in order to build it once, and build it right.”

London needs to up it’s speeds soon or we’ll be choking on the dust of tech hubs all over the world. 

Jade Saunders
Jade Saunders

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