Poor broadband hindering London’s digital economy


Rhiannon Williams

December 11, 2014

London’s digital economy is suffering due to poor broadband infrastructure, an index has found

London’s digital economy is being underserved by poor broadband speeds while other European capitals streak ahead, according to new research.

London is currently ranked 26 out of 33 other European cities in terms of broadband speeds, with an average download broadband speed of 26.3Mbps. Romanian capital Bucharest topped the table with speeds of 81.2Mbps, followed by Paris and Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius with 78.15Mbps and 60.14 Mbps respectively.

Over the last five years London has dropped four places in the league table. In 2009 the city was ranked 22 out of 33, with an average speed of 7.1Mbps. Its speeds have increased 270.3 per cent, but this increase hasn’t been enough to keep up with other European cities.

The top ten cities (Luxemburg, Madrid, Dublin, Sarajevo, Minsk, Warsaw, Bucharest, Paris, Vilnius and Belgrade) have increased their speeds by an average of 448.7 per cent – a quantum leap indicative of a citywide shift to a true fibre infrastructure, according to Hyperoptic, the broadband provider which compiled the index.

Boris Ivanovic, chairman of Hyperoptic said the UK government recognised there is a “clear need for speed” after pledging to have the fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015 two years ago.

“These figures demonstrate that the UK is a long way from that target. London has long been recognised as a powerhouse of the UK’s digital economy – after all, the capital houses a vibrant tech community and contributes nearly a quarter of the UK’s overall economic output – but its broadband infrastructure clearly isn’t fit for task, let alone the rest of the UK.”

Mr Ivanovic maintains there must be a “fundamental shift” in the country’s urban broadband strategy if it wants to retain its digital leadership.

The UK’s digital economy’s worth is set to rise to £225bn by 2016 and grow by more than 10pc a year, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

Karin Ahl, President of the Fibre To The Home Council (FTTH) Europe, added: “These findings are in line with those of the FTTH Council Europe market panorama. The UK does not appear in the FTTH Ranking because, with only 0.09pc of British homes subscribing to FTTH/B at year-end 2013, the country has not yet reached the 1pc threshold.

“FTTH is the only future-proof way to build broadband access networks, and it is our strongly held view that the socio-economic impact of fibre broadband justifies the investment. Governments need to make the right decisions for the future, not ones based on the past, in order to build it once, and build it right.”

Rank Country Capital Dec, 2014 speeds
1 Romania Bucharest 81.18
2 France Paris 78.15
3 Lithuania Vilnius 60.14
4 Sweden Stockholm 58.37
5 Switzerland Bern 51.19
6 Iceland Reykjavik 50.41
7 Denmark Copenhagen 48.78
8 Finland Helsinki 44.76
9 Norway Oslo 43.8
10 Estonia Tallinn 43.32
11 Latvia Riga 42.76
12 Luxemburg Luxemburg 41.77
13 Austria Vienna 40.89
14 Slovakia Bratislava 40.77
15 Netherlands Amsterdam 39.97
16 Hungary Budapest 39.93
17 Bulgaria Sofia 38.78
18 Czeck Republic Prague 37.47
19 Portugal Lisbon 36.61
20 Ukraine Kiev 34.61
21 Spain Madrid 33.83
22 Ireland Dublin 33.36
23 Belgium Brussels 28.51
24 Poland Warsaw 26.68
26 Germany Berlin 26.51
26 United Kingdom London 26.29
27 Belarus Minsk 18.39
28 Bosnia & Herzegovina Sarajevo 12.47
29 Croatia Zagreb 12.38
30 Italy Rome 12.13
31 Serbia Belgrade 11.39
32 Cyprus Nicosia 9.58
33 Greece Athens 9.45


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