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Openreach investment to bring gigabit speeds to London's West End

Friday, September 29th 2017 by Oprah Flash

Londoners in the West End will soon have have access to gigabit broadband speeds thanks to a new partnership between Openreach and Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, it has been announced.

Openreach, Britain’s largest digital network, has joined forces with the landowner to upgrade the broadband infrastructure throughout Grosvenor’s London Estate in Mayfair and Belgravia.

This is the first time Openreach has made a co-investment deal with a property company.

More than 600 homes and businesses in the West End will be able to access download speeds “200 times faster than today’s UK average”, Openreach said.

Hundreds more properties just outside the West End could also benefit from superfast speeds of up to 80Mbps.

Openreach has already started working on the new digital infrastructure across Grosvenor’s London estate, and aims to be finished by July 2018.

Kim Mears, Openreach managing director for infrastructure delivery, said: “We’re investing heavily in the infrastructure London needs to support its thriving digital economy, and our partnership with Grosvenor is a great example of that.”

“We want to build a much larger full fibre network across the UK, and with the right conditions we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s – but the engineering, commercial and operational challenges are significant.

“There’s no doubt that greater collaboration will help us to overcome these challenges, so we’re working closely with landowners, developers, Communications Providers and government to achieve that.

“Co-investment models like this one are part of the answer, and we’re keen to replicate this with other landowners and developers throughout the UK.”

'Digital upgrade'

Grovesnor's investment is part of a five-year digital investment programme across its London estate that includes new broadband, wi-fi and mobile connections. The landowner has said it is investing £2m in the project.

That programme is set to move the Mayfair and Belgravia areas of central London from the worst performing 5% in the country for digital connections, to the top 5%.

Openreach has said it wants to transform this part of the West End into a 'digital destination' for the public, residents and businesses.

Will Bax, executive director for the London estate, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “We have a 20-year vision that our London estate, at the heart of the West End, works harder for its communities and all Londoners by adapting - with better streets, greener spaces and more active and enterprising places that appeal to the many.

“This digital upgrade, the first of its kind in a landmark deal, confirms our commitment to the long-term vision we have for this great London estate.

“It epitomises our call for the partnerships and collaboration we need to secure the future of these districts at the heart of a thriving, global city.”

At the moment more than 96% of homes and businesses across London can access superfast speeds of 30Mbps and above through Openreach.

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