A scheme to improve London's coverage of fibre-optic connectivity has been unveiled by mayor Sadiq Khan that will eventually aim to offer gigabit-capable coverage to up to 400,000 homes.
The new investment, which totals £10 million, will focus on 'not-spot' areas in the south of the city that currently suffer from poor broadband speeds. It is expected that 118,000 properties will benefit from these deployments.
A key feature of the scheme will be the utilisation of the existing London Underground network to create a 'fibre backbone' throughout the city, with fibre-optic cables being laid in Tube tunnels managed by Transport for London.
These cables will then be linked to public buildings, such as community centres and libraries, which will act as hubs for high-speed connectivity. This is expected to significantly lower the cost of deploying full fibre broadband and should be especially beneficial to areas with little or no existing fibre, as many of these had previously been deemed financially unviable and suffered from poor connectivity as a result.
Mr Khan said the future of London's digital connectivity will be built on fibre, so this deployment will be essential for the success of businesses of all sizes, as well as residents looking to access digital services at home and on the move.
He added: "The funding I’m announcing today unlocks the potential for us to use the Tube network and public buildings in bringing gigabit-speed connectivity to Londoners currently putting up with poor service.
"I hope this provides the catalyst for further investment from the public and private sectors - I'm urging them to match my ambitions to get all Londoners connected."
The mayor's office noted that, currently, the capital is still lagging behind many other cities in the UK and overseas when it comes to connectivity.
Around 90 per cent of premises in the city can only access fibre services in the form of FTTC connections that do not run the cabling solution direct to their doors and rely on copper for the final mile, resulting in much lower speeds.
Indeed, only 11 per cent of properties are able to access full fibre-to-the-premises solutions, compared with around 70 per cent in some of our European neighbours, such as Spain and Sweden.