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August 10, 2017

London Mayor Sadiq Khan to stamp out ‘not-spots’ in digital connectivity plans

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced today a number of efforts to boost digital connectivity across the capital and tackle areas of poor connectivity.

By April Slattery

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced today a number of efforts to boost digital connectivity across the capital and tackle areas of poor connectivity around London.

After reports that the UK is placed outside the Top 30 for Global Broadband speeds, The Mayor of London looks to make improvements across the City in order to benefit residents and businesses.

With a growing technology sector including over 40,000 digital technology businesses employing almost 200,000 people, London is regarded as Europe’s leading technology hub. However, many areas across London suffer from poor digital connections, dubbed ‘Not-Spots’, with specialist teams now having been appointed to help tackle the problem.

Sadiq Khan, said: “London is now a leading global tech hub, with thriving start-ups alongside major companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

“But our digital connectivity needs to be improved – internet connectivity is now a key public utility, and it is no surprise that some businesses see poor connectivity as a barrier to growth.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan to tackle ‘not-spots’ in digital connectivity plans

Khan also plans to ensure strong connectivity throughout new Elizabethan line

“If we are to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access a fast and reliable digital connection,” said Khan.

“That means working to boost connectivity across London – tackling not-spots, delivering connectivity in the London Underground and working with local authorities to provide digital infrastructure fitting of a global tech hub.”

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A manifesto created by Khan outlined a commitment to help improve the connectivity in London. In order to carry out his proposition, Khan plans to tackle poor internet provision areas and ensure better access to public sector property for digital infrastructure.

Khan’s appointed ‘Not-Spot’ teams will work with local authorities and providers, in poor connectivity areas, to identify and deliver solutions to improve the area connection.

In addition to the ‘Not-Spot’ teams, Khan also announced a City Hall summit to bring together local authorities and help them apply for government funding.

Dubbed ‘The Digital Connectivity Funding Forum’ the City Hall summit aims to bring London’s local authorities together to give support for applying for the Government’s Digital Infrastructure Funding. The summit will discuss what work the Not-Spot team aims to do, sharing ideas and best practice on connectivity.

Read More: London Tech Week: London could be smartest city in the world, says Sadiq Khan

Alongside Sadiq Khan’s plans to boost connectivity, the new Elizabethan line will have mobile coverage when it launches through central London in December 2018. The aim for the line is to provide continuous phone coverage and access to the internet as the train moves through tunnels.

TfL will shortly be issuing a formal notice seeking feedback from the industry on how it can best take advantage of its underground and street-level assets to improve connectivity across the capital, while also generating a commercial return.

Read More: Sluggish broadband speeds put UK outside top 30

David Leam, infrastructure director at London First, said: “Business needs fast and reliable connections across our capital – in the office, for people working from home and when they’re on the move.

Following his announcement and creation of the City Hall Summit, the Mayor is writing to all boroughs to encourage them to bid for the Government’s Digital Infrastructure Funding. Khan will give guidance to boroughs on the best way to utilise the arrangements known as ‘wayleaves’, to get more fibre in the ground and into buildings. These legal arrangements are used to grant access to land or buildings for providers to deploy and manage digital infrastructure.

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