Businesses across London have come together to explore how to make the Gigabit City dream a reality in London. At an event organised by Venus Business Communications and Westminster Business Council, chaired by Elizabeth Crowther-Hunt CEO of WBC, guest speakers from business and government shared their perspectives on the challenges that needed to be addressed and gathered valuable perspectives and suggestions from businesses across the city.
“Westminster is home to 43,000 businesses and contributes £57.5 billion to national output. As the premier place for business in the UK, it’s imperative that Westminster becomes a Gigabit City,” said Elizabeth.
Several businesses in London already enjoy a gigabit per second connectivity, but transforming a whole city, so everyone has this facility is a challenge. Westminster Councillor, Jonathan Glanz, recognized that London needs to compete with New York and other UK cities working to become Gigabit Cities. “Businesses, local government, hospitals, schools, would all benefit from this high speed connectivity. We need to help deliver first class connectivity for a first class city,” said Jonathan.
Alex Proud, the entrepreneur who runs iconic galleries and clubs across London has recently upgraded to gigabit speeds.
“Broadband is integrated into the nuts and bolts of the way my business runs from delivering HD security video from premises across London to facilitating video conferencing with my staff working from home to accessing the cloud. All these things save me money on calls, computing, and transport. London is a brilliant city and gigabit connectivity will unleash the creativity of London businesses,” said Alex.
Andrea Young, Director of the Government’s Digital Economy Unit, reported that 83% of homes and Businesses in London have access to Superfast broadband stimulated by the Superconnected Cities Scheme. However many businesses still do not have the speeds or service they were expecting. “We need new mechanisms to remove delays in physically getting fibre into businesses and a business connectivity market review looking at how to speed up getting fibre to premises,” suggested Andrea.
Venus Business Communications Director, Brian Iddon, agreed. “To transform London into a functioning gigabit city requires fibre optic cables to be run to premises rather than to cabinets or exchanges. The Superconnected Cities scheme has helped to drive this and we now welcome the recent Connectivity Rating Scheme from the Mayor’s Office that I believe will stimulate market forces to drive the requirement for gigabit connectivity and landlords’ desire to expedite its provisioning,” said Brian.
Businesses often move in to premises and then discover they do not have the connectivity that they need. The Connectivity Ratings Scheme aims to solve this by informing businesses about the connectivity levels of buildings they are considering occupying before they agree to take out a lease.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “My Connectivity Ratings Scheme launched in partnership with WiredScore will not only help businesses to identify where they can achieve the best broadband speeds, it will encourage landlords to up their game in the connectivity stakes. By working to deliver world-class affordable connectivity for everyone we are ensuring that London has the digital infrastructure in place to stay ahead of our competitors.”
High-speed connectivity is being recognised by businesses internationally as fundamental as water. Businesses and consumers alike are driving demand with more subscription services emerging requiring data download. Demand is growing exponentially and changing how cities do business. Delivering the gigabit city dream needs to happen sooner rather than later to ensure London continues to be a great city for business.