London internet issues 'ludicrous', City averages 11.2Mbps: report

Summary:With the City of London averaging broadband speeds of only 11.2 Mbps, and greater London averaging 20.5 Mbps, broadband available across the United Kingdom have been branded not fit for purpose.

Businesses in central London are losing more than 50,000 working days and £37 million ($A67.54 million) a year because of broadband issues, according to a new report on internet speeds in the capital.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) analysed more than 400,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their broadband capabilities, finding that many were being hindered by issues with their internet connection.

According to the report, which was put together using data from YouGov, more than 60 per cent of businesses said they felt they could cope without a landline, but more than £30 million was spent on maintaining them each year.

Colm Sheehy, senior economist at CEBR, said: "The fact that central London has the highest concentration of SMEs suffering from low broadband speeds has implications for productivity in London's economy."

"In addition, the requirement to have a landline for most broadband services despite nearly two-thirds of SMEs being able to operate effectively without it indicates that businesses are getting poor value for money from their landline."

Internet speeds were also flagged up as a major problem for business in the City of London, with CEBR reporting that average broadband speeds were just 11.2 Mbps, compared to the London average of 20.5 Mbps.

But this was not a trend confined to London, with a recent report by the Federation of Small Businesses suggesting that due to its below-average speed, the UK's broadband was not "fit for purpose".

Interestingly, the report also found that areas around east London and the capital's technology hub had some of the worst internet connections in the region.

The area, known as Silicon Roundabout, is home to a host of web and technology-based start-ups.

"Our new technology start-up has faced many business challenges since launching but we never thought broadband would be one of them," said Paul Dolman-Darrall, founder of Gamevy, a gaming consultancy based in east London that creates playable quiz shows.

"Despite residing in an office on the edge of EC1, a mere two minutes from the City of London, we were unable to get fibre-optic broadband."

"As a company of 10 people requiring heavy data usage this was absolutely ludicrous."

"Once we had moved offices, we needed a service that was quick, cost effective but also able to be delivered speedily without the additional costs and delays of waiting for a line to be installed."

CEBR's report found that 50,400 days were wasted by businesses in London waiting for installation of broadband, time that cost enterprises more than £7 million.

London is working to become a greater hub during the technology boom, with the capital hosting its first Technology Week earlier this year, which was launched by Mayor Boris Johnson, and something that he described as wanting to be "bigger than Fashion Week" in the long-term.

Topics: Networking, Broadband

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