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Vaizey: Broadband in London 'much better' than Lords committee report makes out

Wednesday, February 18th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Ed Vaizey has defended London’s broadband in the wake of a report warning that the capital is being held back by slow speeds.

Writing on a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) blog, the digital minister said the picture was “much better” than the House of Lords’ Digital Skills Committee had painted and pledged to work with MPs, councils and businesses to ensure London is the “world’s digital capital”.

The committee yesterday warned that some sectors of society and regions of the country are falling behind when it comes to broadband provision – at great cost to the economy.

In response to reports about the committee's warning that London contrasted dramatically with other capital cities when it comes to broadband, Mr Vaizey defended the situation in the capital.

“In fact, the picture is much better than the committee paints,” he wrote.

He described business broadband as “readily available” in London and said most businesses can access speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Nine out of 10 London homes can get superfast broadband, Mr Vaizey added, describing domestic broadband prices in the UK as “among the lowest in Europe”.

He said that London – as well as the rest of the UK – is benefiting from the roll out of 4G mobile broadband, and also cited Virgin Media’s recent announcement of a £3bn programme to bring broadband to four million homes.

Mr Vaizey cited the government’s business broadband voucher scheme, and said it is also looking at making it simpler for providers to access land and property where they need to upgrade infrastructure.

He wrote: “A recent report by the consultants PwC put London at the top of 30 global cities. It ranked our capital as number one for 'technology readiness' alongside Seoul in South Korea, traditionally the touchstone city for all things digital.

“Survey after survey puts the UK at the top of rankings for broadband in terms of both speed and cost.

“As a nation, we are one of the most technologically savvy in the world, being early adopters and heavy users of everything from smart phones to e-commerce.”

But he said the nation “cannot be complacent” if London is to keep its place as “one of the leading cities in the world for technology” and said he would continue to work with local councils, MPs, and businesses who are frustrated with the pace of change.

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