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Mayor of London Says Half of Homes Can Now Access Full Fibre

Friday, Jan 27th, 2023 (3:40 pm) - Score 1,968
london city 2017 uk

The Mayor of London UK, Sadiq Khan, has today claimed that 50% of the capital city (up from 4% in 2017) can now access a full fibre broadband ISP network, which is apparently “thanks to the Mayor’s policies and his work with boroughs and broadband providers“. We’d say only a small part of it is down to that.

Now, it is absolutely true to say that the Mayor has had some positive impacts on the broadband situation in London, such as with his efforts to reduce the barriers to build, the new London Underground fibre network (expected to help connect 728 public buildings) and to make wayleaves (i.e. legal land and property access agreements) easier to secure. City Hall estimates that upwards of £1.5bn infrastructure investment has been unlocked through negotiating these complex agreements.

However, it’s a bit of a stretch to go from that to effectively suggesting that it’s all thanks to the Mayor’s policies and his work, which rather ignores the natural impact of the competitive commercial market and private investment. The latter is currently driving the vast majority of change, not only in London, but also across the UK.

Operators like Openreach, Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, G.Network and CommunityFibre, among others, have all spent the past few years rolling out Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks in London and that would have occurred regardless of anything the Mayor did. But Khan is by no means the first politician to claim credit for such work, much as the UK government keeps reminding us with its various Project Gigabit announcements.

Later this year the Mayor will also be publishing guidance to the new London Plan adopted in 2021, which requires all new homes and developments to have fibre and mobile connectivity from day one. “This represents one of the strongest digital connectivity policies in the UK,” said the announcement. But then it’s also very similar to what the recently revised Building Regulations were intended to facilitate (here).

Chief Digital Officer for London, Theo Blackwell MBE, said:

“Huge progress is being made connecting hundreds of thousands of Londoners to hyperfast broadband thanks to dedicated work from local councils and telecoms companies. Homes across London are being connected to full fibre and we’ll see this grow even further with TfL’s ground-breaking 20-year partnership with BAI Communications.

Every night crews are out laying London’s new full fibre network across the Underground. This is delivering 4G and 5G for Tube passengers, but perhaps more fundamentally creates a backbone of connectivity which is reaching further into areas of the city historically under-served by the market. Up to 2017 City Hall was limited to handling out vouchers to businesses for high-speed connections, but through ambitious collaboration this has changed and new investment is now benefitting Londoners directly.”

The Mayor is also said to have focussed an additional £10 million on areas with low rates of connectivity, like Enfield, Harrow, Hounslow, Kingston and Sutton who together account for just 4.16% of all full fibre available in London. But that’s a drop in the ocean for a city the size of London.

As ever, the big question for London is with respect to how far the network operators can push FTTP. We don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that full fibre networks could, in a few short years’ time, reach around 98% coverage. But there always seem to be gaps left over, with some islands of poor connectivity still existing even today.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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19 Responses
  1. Avatar photo John says:

    Our communist mayor takes credit for things he hasn’t done anything about in order to distract for the things he is actually responsible for like almost banning poor people from owning cars, woke rainbows even on pedestrian crossings, soaring council tax hikes and record high knife crime

    If they actually wanted to help, they would at least make councils sign wayleaves with providers which is literally the only government gate that could improve FTTP build. Islington only signed a few months ago and there are still councils that have yet to allow providers to build to their council stock

    1. Avatar photo Greyscale says:

      This site is about networking and the like. Please take your ignorant political views elsewhere.

    2. Avatar photo Tim says:

      Being spot on is ignorant to the left

    3. Avatar photo Dumb Far Right says:

      I bet John is a BNP/National Front/UKIP member (probably all three)

    4. Avatar photo Fibreman says:

      ^ ah everything critical of the left is “far right” smear

    5. Avatar photo Maurice McMillan says:

      How can Sadsick Khan claim credit for that? He treats us with contempt what a Moron

  2. Avatar photo Jason says:

    Its a pity that most of the infrastructure builders will have to pay congestion and ulez charges to build the other 50% though

    1. Avatar photo Wilson says:

      It’s ridiculous how this clown just like that leeches money from the people who voted him in, it will destroy economy in outer boroughs that don’t have FTTP and just make the poor even poorer during a cost of living crisis

  3. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    Are there any local elections happening in London this year?

  4. Avatar photo Jerry says:

    Yet another perfect example of a politician taking credit for things they had virtually no impact on. There’s no reason why London shouldn’t already have 95+% coverage. But it doesn’t because its not any easier or any specific incentive to install fppt in London Vs anywhere else in the UK. There’s plenty khan could and still can do to make fttp install easier and ensure the hard to reach and poorest communities aren’t left out.

    1. Avatar photo FreeTopG says:

      Some delusional comments here. Industry expert opinion here – There’s more premises covered with full fibre in London than combined across the biggest cities in the UK. Nearly 2 million premises covered to date. That’s over 10% of network build across the UK. To say that the Mayor shouldn’t take any credit – is nonsensical. Even though the article has a blue hint to it, and has missed a key point from London.gov.uk press release in that it points to collaboration with industry as opposed to taking ownership, it stills clearly points out some of the work the Mayor has done to enable investment. The point of the article is to celebrate success and welcome additional investment. Why spin it negative. Isn’t the Mayor covering one of the biggest not spots in the capital – the tube network! BJ could have done this, but didn’t. And let’s not forget, dcms have focussed their project gigabit programme in rural areas – meaning places urban areas like London get no subsidy. So the Mayor is actually doing a sterling job to support this. Why hasn’t a single operator in London provided a negative comment to the release? Oh that’s right! Anyway aren’t some of you due a booster jab to like the pockets of blue scum. Sheeps.

    2. Avatar photo Phil says:

      Like John said above, there are still actual barriers to council properties which contain the poorest people. The main thing that Kahn could address but has failed to do so

      Your appeal to authority fallacy is pathetic. This is a website for “industry experts”, your opinion is worth less for you mentioning it

      Of course 2million homes covered is “better” than most cities, simply because there are NO other cities in the UK with that amount of housing (greater Manchester barely has over 1m total)

      No operator benefits from publicly opposing the government. During Boris Johnson’s tenure there was no Gnetworks, Community Fibre had a handful of buildings covered as an experiment and even Hyperoptic had less than 50k homes passed (spread around a few cities). These companies have matured over time and Kahn had nothing to do with it

      If anything, Kahn supporters are the ones who are on their 2nd or 3rd booster

  5. Avatar photo FreeTopG says:

    Phil you’re missing the point pal. Not sure why you count it as a ‘fail’ – 2 councils had wayleaves with operators for their social housing stock in 2017. Today that’s 24 out of the 29 out of those who still own stock. That’s a win by any standard. So the so called most deprived areas are in actual fact being connected. As a matter of fact, operators have targeted these sorts of high densely populated MDU’s first ahead of single dwelling units. Most of these estates have multiple fibre lines so there’s plenty of competition and choice for ‘deprived areas’. As for Boris, he didn’t know if he was coming or going on fibre policy (and pretty much everything else). Has constantly changed gov policy around connectivity. Was full fibre by 2025, then 85% gigabit capable, and now we’ll do our best by 2025. You didn’t answer the point about the tube network – he had 8 years at being Mayor- why didn’t he get it done? As for operators publicly berating Gov – the very fact that Openreach Virgin Hyperoptic and others haven’t even signed up to deliver project gigabit lots, is a slap in the face enough. And finally Phil – my opinion (so called expert or as a normie or brokey) remains valid – there’s more fibre in London compared to the next five or so largest cities combined. Anyway this has been fun – shame we’re not going to agree, but it’s been enjoyable so thank you.

  6. Avatar photo Anon says:

    @markjackson – too many political comments here. Best to turn off comments for this post before things turn more sour.

    1. Avatar photo Fibreman says:

      Oh no, not opinions anon doesn’t like!!

      If a comment section on the internet triggers you then just don’t go to one

    2. Avatar photo Sam P says:

      Ah yes, censor those you disagree with.

  7. Avatar photo Matt says:

    I’m not harf thows homes thow am I lol its over the road I swear bt are punishing me just sitting there with a magnifying glass to my forehead thinking it’s funny that they’re just across the road look at him squirm with Virgin don’t get me wrong Virgin Media a good but it only just fixed the problem that probably going on for about 3 months though now everything seems to working really well the one downfall two all ISPs are they kit is terrible and we shouldn’t be forced to use their modem I should be able to take the router out entirely and put my own modem and router in place instead of having to put their kit in modem mode don’t get me wrong it’s simplifies things for the simple-minded but when people actually know it’s easy for them the majority today know what they are doing with computers they grow up with them iSP security on their routers suck as well shields up report failed across the bird do your self favours 2 words modem mode all ways use better kit not just for profrmace but security to

  8. Avatar photo Sam P says:

    Lol at the mayor taking credit

  9. Avatar photo JimJ says:

    As someone who was relatively senior in access rights acquisition at one of the companies mentioned as building out in London (most fibre connected and enabled homes when i left 3 years ago) I can categorically say the Mayor had absolutely nothing to do with helping us build our network. He didn’t bring local councils to the table, or private freeholders. We had to speak to them all one by one. The idea that he helped (at least until I left – when all the momentum was already there) is crazy

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