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London’s ‘digital economy’ hindered by poor broadband infrastructure

December 9, 2014

The index was developed to give insight into London's historical and current broadband speeds and investigate how it compared to other European capital cities.  Hyperoptic, the UK's leading Fibre-to-the-Home provider, compiled the index, sourcing the data from Ookla's speedtest.net, the global standard in Internet connection testing.

The figures revealed that London's broadband speeds are failing to support its burgeoning digital economy. Currently the city only ranks 26 out of 33 for its broadband speeds, with an average download broadband speed of 26.3Mbps, more than 10Mbps slower than the European average of 36.8Mbps. The top five European capitals broadband speeds are currently all two times faster than London. Bucharest tops the table – its citizens enjoy an average of 81.2Mbps.

Over the last five years London has dropped four places in the league table. In 2009 the city was ranked 22 out of 33, with an average speed of 7.1Mbps. Its speeds have increased 270.3 per cent, but this increase hasn't been enough to keep up with other European cities.  The top ten cities (Luxemburg, Madrid, Dublin, Sarajevo, Minsk, Warsaw, Bucharest, Paris, Vilnius and Belgrade) have increased their speeds by an average of 448.7 per cent – a quantum leap indicative of a citywide shift to a true fibre infrastructure.

Boris Ivanovic, Chairman of Hyperoptic: "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 beenrecognisedas 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."

The UK's digital economy is forecast to rise to £225bn by 2016, according to the Boston Consulting Group. It is also outlines that the global digital economy is growing at more than 10 per cent a year, significantly faster than the economy as a whole.

Boris Ivanovic continues:  "If the UK wants to maintain its digital leadership there must be a fundamental shift in its urban broadband strategy. The government must incentivisethe private sector to fast track the implementation of future-proofed Fibre-to-the-Building and Fibre-to-the Homeinfrastructure 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."

Karin Ahl, President of the FTTH Council Europe: "These findings are in line with those of the FTTH Council Europe market panorama. The UK does not appear in the FTTH Ranking because, with only 0.09% of British homes subscribing to FTTH/B at year-end 2013,the country has not yet reached the 1% threshold. 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."

Note to editors: Data has been sourced via Ookla's Net Index Explorer: http://explorer.netindex.com/maps#. Data correct as of 5 Dec 2014. Any European cities not included is due to lack of data.

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