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London Councils spreads digital infrastructure funds

10/10/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

London Councils and the City of London Corporation have committed multi-million funding to a group of projects aimed at strengthening the city’s digital infrastructure.

Aerial view of central London

The money comes from the business rates retention scheme currently being piloted in London and reflects the emphasis on building up its digital capability.

Among the projects is a £4 million investment in a multi-purpose internet of things (IoT) platform for South London to be led by Sutton Council. It will connect IoT enabled sensors across council boundaries to gather data on different factors such as air quality, traffic, footfall and parking space availability.

This will be backed up by £7.7 million to the Local London programme to upgrade connections for fibre optic broadband at key public sector sites across nine boroughs in the north-east of the city. This is aimed at attracting further investment from the commercial sector and laying the ground for improvements in local public services.

A smaller grant of £250,000 has been made available to develop an open data standard for planning applications in a project led by Hackney Council. This should help to create a consistent format for planning data across boroughs and provide an end-to-end solution they could use in the process.

Other projects are aimed at improving the business environment – the £8 million for the South London innovation corridor and £5.75 million for Productive Valley in Tottenham – and £11.13 million will be made available for two programmes to build skills and productivity run by the West London Alliance.

Connectivity commitment

London’s chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “These investments reflect the mayor and the boroughs’ new city-wide commitment to improving digital connectivity.

“We are mobilising new investment to support businesses and citizens by working closely with councils to improve customer choice and target ‘not spots’.

“Our work together sets solid foundations for future 5G technologies in London, which will create new jobs and make London a smarter city.”

London Councils is the grouping of local authorities in the city that supports joint planning and investments.

Image by Mai-Linh Doan, CC SA 2.0 France through Wikimedia

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