A Gigabit Connectivity Taskforce for London – helping to improve engagement with local authorities
On Monday this week, the GLA’s Connected London Team hosted London First and a group of its members at City Hall to discuss improving digital connectivity in London. I presented the findings of our report Enhancing Digital Connectivity: The role of operators and local authorities, which set out case studies of best practice within some of London’s local authorities as well as a series of recommendations for how operators should engage with boroughs. This was then followed by an address from Sara Kelly – who leads theConnected London team – that outlined recent measures taken by the GLA to improve digital connectivity across the capital.
Sara Kelly began by welcoming London First’s report, describing the focus on the perspective of London’s boroughs as “refreshing”. The Connected London Team works with local authorities on a weekly basis to promote digital connectivity. One of the most important areas of collaboration has been the GLA’s recent promotion of a standardised wayleave for mobile, which has subsequently been used by many local authorities in the capital to speed up access to properties and, incidentally, in other areas of the country such as the West Midlands and Glasgow. Some of the GLA’s other measures – including the London Development Database Automation Project and a connectivity mapping tool – have also been used to help assist London’s boroughs in promoting better digital connectivity.
The GLA is now looking to further support local authorities through the sub-regional partnerships and the creation of four sub-regional Connected London Teams, covering the Central, East, South and West regions of London. It will be for each of these sub-regions to determine their priorities and recruit dedicated personnel to help “fix the digital plumbing”, which will involve working closely with councillors and leaders in their local areas. Appointments for these roles are expected to be made in April of this year.
This development comes at a time when London First is calling for the creation of a Gigabit Connectivity Taskforce for London that would bring together the GLA, boroughs, operators, landowners and developers to help drive a plan for gigabit-capable connectivity across London by 2025. London First is currently working with the body London Councils to establish this Taskforce.
The Gigabit Connectivity Taskforce will be an important forum for key private and public sector stakeholders (including the new personnel in the sub-regional Connected London teams) to collaborate and promote solutions to some of the remaining issues in promoting digital connectivity. In collaboration with London Councils, London First will be setting up a meeting shortly to help scope the remit of this Taskforce.