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London Launches Connectivity Ratings for Office Buildings
Wednesday 17 June 2015 18:32:34 by Andrew Ferguson

The vast majority of London Boroughs have exceptional levels of superfast coverage, but the high levels of coverage mean that those who cannot get affordable fast broadband are even more likely to be vocal about their problems. This is not really a problem for the major corporations with offices in the City of London who will be using dedicated leased lines, but for those trying to rent a small office space or an apartment to live in it can be a major problem.

Step forward Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and a new digital map of broadband availability across the capital, to add to resources such as our own map and availability checker.

"The Mayor wants every resident and business in London to be able to have affordable high speed internet connectivity, should they choose to access it.

In the Vision 2020 document the Mayor committed to making London’s connectivity the fastest of any European city, and has worked to deliver this. The London SME Connection Voucher Scheme allows SME businesses to claim vouchers for up to £3,000 for the installation of high speed internet access. This can be applied for from any registered business or trading address, so can provide for home workers installations. It also can be used for Fixed Wireless Access technology which provides high speed access without needing fibre cabling infrastructure. This has been particularly useful for businesses located in areas that do not have access to street cabinets that have been upgraded to fibre."

Summary of aims for Mayor of London

With no clear definition of what is affordable or what is really meant by high speed internet connectivity, or what next generation broadband is it is hard to comment much. One thing we have noticed already though is that the map does not appear to take into account Gigabit availability from Hyperoptic (for an example look at Butlers Wharf), 4G coverage which may match or exceed the speeds available from FTTC (mobile might fail the affordability criteria depending on usage levels) and then the 4G LTE service from Relish which does not seem to match 4GEE type speeds but can be a lot faster than ADSL2+ based services. The London map is starting to populate with people registering demand, but only time will tell if this is another demand led scheme costing many thousands of pounds that will actually achieve little. The level of scepticism is for demand mapping is higher after the registration schemes used by many BDUK projects were largely ignored and seemed to be just an exercise to tick EU State Aid regulation check boxes.

We are tracking the superfast fibre coverage using Openreach FTTC/FTTP from Virgin Media is worst in the City of London at 12.5% and then the City of Westminster at 69.8% and at the top end you have Kingston upon Thames at 98.8%. The overall figure for London being 91.5%, well ahead of the next nearest region in England which is the East Midlands at 88.7% (percentages are for premises getting faster than 30 Mbps. What many forget is that the City of London has less than 10% of the population of Kingston hence why consumer grade services are often not available, but leased line services are widely available.

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