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Is London hindered by poor infrastructure?
Tuesday 09 December 2014 14:45:04 by Andrew Ferguson

Broadband speeds and the poor infrastructure in London have become a regular feature of newspapers and online news for sometime now, and campaigners for faster broadband in the cities are possibly heading for a clash for rural campaigners who are still complaining of the digital divide and demanding equal access for businesses in rural areas.

Hyperoptic has waded into the political battle after looking at the Ookla netindex statistics which list London in lowly 26th place out of 33 for European capitals and claiming that London is 10 Mbps slower than the European average of 36.8 Mbps. Bucharest tops the chart currently at 81.2 Mbps for the current December figure, though had dipped in the middle of the year to 68 Mbps in June 2014.

"The UK government has recognised that there is a clear need for speed, which is why back in 2012 it pledged to have the fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015.

These figures demonstrate that the UK is a long way from that target. London has long been recognised as a powerhouse of the UK’s digital economy – after all, the capital houses a vibrant tech community and contributes nearly a quarter of the UK’s overall economic output – but its broadband infrastructure clearly isn’t fit for task, let alone the rest of the UK.

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.

Global Internet traffic is doubling every two to three years; slow incremental rises are not enough to support a sector that is digitising industries and redefining itself on a daily basis.

Boris Ivanovic, Chairman of Hyperoptic

It is likely that the politicians will answer with the detail on the ConnectedCities voucher scheme that allows SME business to subsidise the cost of much faster connectivity and it is also worth actually looking at our own broadband speed test data for London in just November 2014.

Downloads speeds across London in November 2014

We often publish median speeds, since the median speed represents the speed that half the people can get, but to allow for comparison with other services we have published the mean download figures, and this shows that where you locate yourself in London is a major factor. The fact that much higher speeds are available in certain areas, and even Gigabit if you pick an office where someone like Hyperoptic is available but we see everyone complaining about the City of London (more businesses than residents - around 4500 residents) suggests that broadband may not be so essential to force firms to move office. Once businesses start to do that and landlords see rents going down this will make them wake-up to the need for faster broadband.

With speeds so low compared to other capitals it is easy to say the problem is one of availability, and while there is a general co-relation we are constantly seeing people opt for longer download times to save £10 to £20 per month and very little evidence to suggest the SME sector is much different.

The twenty areas of the UK with the highest levels of access to superfast broadband (and we mean premises able to get 30 Mbps or faster, not just order FTTC) are in descending order: Enfield, Havering, Kingston upon Thames, Oldham District, Harrow, Barking and Dagenham, Luton, Ealing, Sutton, Reading, Southend-on-Sea, Bracknell Forest, Hackney, Barnet, Slough, Hillingdon, Surrey County, Trafford District, Bournemouth. The coverage at superfast speeds is above 90% for these twenty areas, so the fact that the means are not even higher demonstrates that people and small business are lagging in the rate they are signing up, or choosing the up to 38 Mbps options, rather than up to 76 Mbps from Openreach based solutions or the Gigabit from Hyperoptic or 152 Mbps option from Virgin Media.

Our message is that if broadband faster than is available to you now as a business is critical to your business then its time to re-locate to one of the places with better broadband.


Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Surrey Area Aprox 450k customers league position Number 18 shows the advertising from the (Surrey County Council Staff) are getting the customers to take up the ISP,s options. This must be also pushing the customers speeds further up the Higheracky and the % under 2 and 10 meg getting smaller by the day.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Position Number 18 where? This was an item about London.
Posted by BlackAle over 2 years ago
boohoo London. NOT!
Posted by MCM999 over 2 years ago
@Andrew. Number 18 refers to Surrey County being No 18 in your list of top twenty areas in the UK. [Actually it is no 17 in a list of 19]. Nothing otherwise to do with your post or London.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
In which case that position is NOTHING to do with advertising its says "highest levels of access to superfast broadband", i.e. this is availability of superfast, not the %'age of people who have signed up, which your comment seems to be trying to say.

It has to be available, and only then will people be able to buy it.

Don't assume speeds are a steady climb either, we see people downgrading to save money in tight financial circumstances.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
Bucharest is at the top? That the capital of Romania sits atop the broadband speed league is not exactly a good argument that download speed is causal of good economic performance is it?
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Andrews Staff
The Avability of Superfast Broadband in Surrey is very high as most of the New Cabs have been commisioned and advertised seven day each week by the Superfast team see web site. As for the take up the contractors on change over are running at 10- 15 working days. As for the speed climbing you only need to check your speeds on Thinkbroadband maps as the low results are dropped off daily (90 days).
Posted by MCM999 over 2 years ago
@Blackmamba Why do you keep posting irrelevant and often unintelligible messages especially in threads that have nothing to do with Surrey?
Posted by Miserygut over 2 years ago
Where I live in London's Zone 4, SE26, (Lewisham / Bromley border) my line is at the very end of a trunk which means I'm limited to ~28mbit down, ~6mbit up. I'd be interested to see if there's a correlation between the average date of property development and the average speeds in an area, eg, 1920s / 1930s era suburbs having worse speeds than 1950s suburbs.
Posted by Miserygut over 2 years ago
Also tied into that, I'd be curious to see the correlation between business properties in a borough and the rate of FTTC provisioning. I get the feeling BT deliberately doesn't cover business districts so they can sell more expensive dedicated fibre products, that would certainly match my experience at work where all but two of our town centre offices around the UK are unable to get FTTC services.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Business districts also offer a lower density of broadband connections per cabinet, so ROI is higher, generally that is the reason for cabinets not being enabled.

Also lots of businesses making heavy use of the Internet should already be on leased lines due to the SLA and capacity guarantees.
Posted by Miserygut over 2 years ago
I'd say that businesses, despite lower connection densities in some cases, are far more likely to get FTTC connections than the average household. It's nice that BT aren't even giving them a choice in the matter.

FTTC would remove the need for all of our leased lines except the one going to our HQ. We're paying a lot of money for not particularly good speeds because there are no alternatives if you want 10mbit+ of upload. Bonded FTTC lines are significantly more cost effective than leased lines still.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Willing to accept the risk like some people where the cabinet was destroyed by a car crash, cab stood back up, but still waiting for mains to be re-connected so running on battery backup. That is swapped out twice a day breaking connections apparently?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
If enough businesses then a gap funding where collectively they pay the money, and then reap it back themselves on savings in leased line costs is one way to do the upgrade.

Or find a non-openreach solution to the problem.
Posted by phineddy over 2 years ago
The presumption of this article is that business is totally reliant on broadband speeds and will/should relocate based on these. In reality apart from a genuine small business, business has other options open to it for connectivity. We are in manchester and pay sround £600 per month for 100 meg up/down with costs looking like they will drop rapidly over the next few years.
Posted by leexgx over 2 years ago
same here even 10/10 is only £100 cheaper (excluding VAT!!) £400+vat for it and £500+vat for 100/100 (at least the install is free,better had be for that price)

i am trying to get there other 3 company's in the building to split up the money up, But one company alone in the building has gone to the effort of installing 4 ADSL modems i assume in bonding connections just so they can get 3-4mb/s connection (assuming they are getting around 0.7mb/s) there is NO FTTC (if business estate was on the other side of the dual carriage wall they have it)
Posted by leexgx over 2 years ago
they properly are paying over £300 just for that setup alone and they still have a 24-48 hour repair time on it (4 phone lines, 4 ADSL lines 4 way Bonding router, unless they are cheapening out and using a load balancer) its likely they would pay more for it (they have like 20 people running of that as well)
Posted by leexgx over 2 years ago
most go with 40/10 product as who needs 80/20 or Virgin above 50, that is if they are Bothered to change from ADSL in the first place you find most are not (as it cost them £10-15 more for no benefit to them in Most cases) if both up and down cant do more then 40/10 no point paying for more

i choose 40/10 even thought i fully way know my line will lock on at 80/20, also 40/10 was little bit cheaper as well (cab is like 100 or so meters away) i went for connection reliability over speed if you call 40/10 slow (so anything that happens on the line has to be very drastic to make the line drop)
Posted by Kaufhof over 2 years ago
How can people in London moan so much about what I find to be speeds at I can only describe as 'instantaneous'! Here in Leicester (120 miles north of the 'Big Smoke') they are just reasonable but unreliable. I wonder what speeds are like in Timisoara?
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