City Hall is investing £10 million to lay fibre-optic cabling in the Tube to create a ‘fibre backbone’ across London.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said the investment will cover the installation costs of linking these cables to around 450 public buildings, such as community centres and libraries.
A key aim of the programme is to reduce the cost to providers of laying ‘last-mile’ Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) cabling between the public buildings and homes and businesses.
Khan said the scheme should particularly benefit areas with little or no fibre, which had previously been deemed financially unviable. The roll-out will begin with 118,000 properties in ‘not-spot’ areas of south London.
The fibre upgrade could deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps.
Future built on fibre
Mayor Sadiq 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.”
London 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, for instance.
More local fibre will also pave the way for 5G, which requires a full-fibre network.
“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,” Khan said.
“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.”