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Poll reveals Londoners' frustration over poor broadband

Friday, April 1st 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than a million Londoners are unhappy with their broadband speed, a survey has revealed.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Foundation for Information for Society Policy (FISP) found that 1.01m adults living in London are less than satisfied with the speed of their connection.

The survey also found that only a third of Londoners believe the capital is ready to meet future broadband needs.

FISP, an independent group of telecoms professionals, said the results show that the market has failed to provide the broadband infrastructure that consumers and businesses need.

The group is challenging the next London mayor to create a new infrastructure agency – Digital for Londoners (DfL) – with the aim of making London a ‘gigabit city’ by 2020.

This would involve giving all homes and businesses in the capital access to broadband speeds of at least 1,000Mbps, or one gigabit.

Telecoms expert and FISP member David Brunnen said: “Demand for broadband capacity in London is growing rapidly, but the capital’s broadband, based largely on old networks of copper wires, has a limited future.

“This dangerous situation will diminish economic and societal growth in the future, unless London’s incoming mayor is able and willing to take drastic action.

“Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are already unhappy with their broadband – and unless quick action is taken to support growth and encourage investment, there will be serious repercussions in the near future.”

'Unambitious targets'

The survey, which polled 1,167 Londoners, asked people to rate the city’s broadband service generally, the speed of their own broadband connection and London’s ability to meet future broadband needs.

17% rated their broadband speed as bad or very bad, which equates to 1,009,800 people – around a sixth of the number of Londoners aged 18 and above who are online.

A further 17% rated London’s chances of meeting future broadband needs as bad or very bad. Only a quarter of those aged 18-24 said the capital is ready to meet future broadband needs.

Two thirds of those surveyed rated their broadband service as good.

Councillor Jonathan Glanz, of Westminster Council, said: “Residents and businesses from Maida Vale to Victoria Square via Marylebone and Soho are amazed that they cannot receive superfast broadband in the heart of London.

“Their frustration at the lack of clarity, the pace of progress and the unambitious targets which fail to take account of future demand leaves them unable to comprehend why the market cannot or will not provide them with cost effective and affordable superfast or ultrafast broadband connectivity.”

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