London economy's £20bn super-fast broadband boost


Investment in super-fast broadband will boost London’s economy by £20bn over the next 15 years, according to a report.

London properties will be among those to benefit from BT’s £2.5bn programme to bring the super-fast and ultra-fast download speeds to the UK. It hopes to offer 300Mb speeds to households and businesses by 2013.

About £10 will be created in gross added value for each £1 invested in the infrastructure for super-fast broadband, the study conducted by Regeneris Consulting found. Super-fast services are forecast to help create 26,000 jobs in London by 2027.

BT regional director for London Chet Patel said the roll-out of next generation broadband in London was at a “very advanced stage”.

Super-fast broadband speeds will help the capital’s SMEs compete with bigger businesses, according to Marcus Green, founder of website designer Toolkit Websites.

“I think it will help London because it will enable essentially start-up businesses, whether in bedrooms or small offices and garages, to be able to work quickly and efficiently on the internet as well as big businesses,” said Green. “It further levels the playing field and enables them to compete.”

Green explained that while large companies could afford to have fibre-optic broadband connections installed at their offices, local firms simply did not have the money to fund their own fibre-optic line. He remarked that he currently receives faster internet speeds at home than in the office.

A slow internet connection can quickly frustrate staff and end up costing small businesses valuable time, said Green.

“Once you add members of staff to your team in the information economy, which is what the UK has become, the important thing is people are sitting at their computers working all day and they are increasingly online, rather than just on their computer.

“For every task they have to do online if they have to wait a few seconds for something to load up, download or a picture in an email to arrive, over a day over all the staff it adds up to quite a lot of time wasted.”

Regeneris Consulting’s Stephen Nicol said the continued investment in super-fast broadband would be crucial in keeping the UK’s largest economy competitive.