Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a £10 million investment to extend the city’s full fibre infrastructure using public buildings and the Underground network.
It will involve laying fibre optic cabling along Underground tunnels to create a ‘fibre backbone’ across London and linking it to public buildings such as community centres and libraries.
This will reduce the cost to providers of laying cabling and is aimed at supporting areas with little or no existing fibre.
It should also support the future provision of 5G connectivity.
Khan said: “London’s future digital connectivity will be built on fibre. High speed connectivity is crucial for businesses of all sizes and sectors, not to mention Londoners accessing digital services at home and around the city.
“This represents the largest investment in connectivity City Hall has ever made. The funding I’m announcing today unlocks the potential for us to use the Tube network and public buildings in bringing gigabit-speed connectivity to Londoners currently putting up with poor service.
“I hope this provides the catalyst for further investment from the public and private sectors – I’m urging them to match my ambitions to get all Londoners connected.”
Currently around 90% 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% of properties can order full fibre connections, compared to 70% in Spain and Sweden.
The news emerged on the same day that Transport for London announced that it is working with Vodafone on a pilot to provide 4G connectivity on the Underground network.
Image by Italo-Europeo, own work, CC BY-SA 3.0