Copley welcomes Mayor’s £10m digital cable investment

The Mayor of London has announced a £10million fund to make it easier for people to connect online and get access to Inside Croydon.

There might be one or two other uses, too, of a city-wide investment which seeks to upgrade copper cables to full fibre optics using the Tube network and public buildings.

According to an announcement this week, “The plans will make it possible for more of London to access gigabit-speed connectivity – starting with 118,000 properties in south London – by tackling “not spot” areas which suffer from poor connectivity.” Much of that area of south London receiving the fibre upgrade is in and around Croydon.

Last month, Croydon Council announced that it had entered into an agreement with two providers – BT’s Openreach and Community Fibre – to provide or extend full-fibre broadband coverage acrosss the borough, including 11,000 council properties across the borough.

“The installation comes at no cost to the council or residents, with residents only paying if they decide to sign up for the faster broadband,” according to Croydon Council. Under the agreement with the council, free wi-fi will also be provided by Community Fibre in communal areas of sheltered housing and council-owned community buildings.

As the infrastructure improves, businesses and those living in private properties will also be able to sign up and access the faster internet speeds.

Community Fibre will be fitting fibre cable intothousands of Croydon homes

At the moment, most properties only have old-style copper cables from the cabinet in the street to the building, which limits internet speeds. With the council’s new agreement, fibre cables will be installed to the customer’s router.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £10million investment will drive gigabit-speed connectivity, and provide speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second – fast enough to download a two-hour long film in high definition in just 25 seconds.

New fibre optic cabling will be laid along TfL tunnels to create a “fibre backbone” across London. The investment announced by the Mayor will cover the installation costs of linking these fibre optic cables to public buildings, such as community centres and libraries.

At present, around 90 per cent of London is served by fibre only reaching local telecoms exchanges. Most homes are then connected with copper cabling, which offers much lower speeds. London currently lags behind other cities due to its reliance on copper: only around 11 per cent of properties can order full-fibre connections, compared to 70 per cent in Spain and Sweden.

In response to the news, Assembly Member Tom Copley said: “With there being only around 7 per cent full-fibre coverage across Croydon, this funding will provide a significant boost for households and businesses currently based in ‘not spot’ areas, who have been held back by slow and unreliable access to vital digital services.

Tom Copley: welcomes Mayor’s £10m investment

“By using existing public and transport infrastructure it will be possible to deliver better connectivity across the capital. It’s good to see that City Hall is finding pragmatic solutions to the many obstacles and high costs that come with replacing existing cabling.

“The government needs to crack on with their pledge to achieve full-fibre coverage across the UK by 2025, and continue to supplement the investment that City Hall has pledged to upgrade connectivity in the capital.”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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