About DfL

DigicoverDfL – Putting London in control of the future of its digital infrastructure

We believe the formation of DfL is a critical step to safeguarding the future for London as an economic powerhouse and desirable place to live.  The aim of DfL is to drive creation of faster and future proof broadband connectivity for the benefit of the residents and businesses in the city.  An open access approach combined with faster speeds and symmetric broadband will facilitate development of new and innovative services as well as enabling businesses and city services to transform the way they work.

Why is this important?

Our broadband speeds already lag behind many countries.  In the UK we are talking about ‘superfast broadband’ of 30 mbps being satisfactory while countries like Sweden introduced 100 mbps services more than ten years ago!  While our businesses struggle with upload speeds even slower than the download speeds, our competitors enjoy symmetric services where the upload speed is as fast as the download.

Telecoms operators will not make the investments needed for London to have world-class broadband services, as their priority is making money for shareholders.

Things are likely to get worse unless we change the situation.  The underlying trend for broadband in most countries is for speeds to double every two to three years.  However in London, a lack of interest and insufficient investment from operators is likely to see us slipping even further behind – stuck with poor quality and slow broadband compared to our key economic competitors.

Over 100 studies show the positive economic impact of investment in broadband.  For example, doubling average broadband speed contributes to a permanent 0.3% increase in Gross Domestic Product.  Doubling the speed again yields another 0.3% increase*.  London needs the right infrastructure to accrue these economic benefits and will simply fail to do so if control is left in the hands of operators driven by profit rather than economic good.

By specifying a completely open-access model, residents and businesses will be able to choose from a ‘supermarket’ of different services offered by different providers – all at the click of a mouse.  This increased service competition leads to higher take-up rates (as much as 20% higher in some places) and means more people are then able to take advantage of e-gov, e-health and other digital services.

TfL illustrates that key infrastructure needs to be managed centrally to overcome the problem of profit driven operators failing to create and maintain the right services.  The services and network the city needs will only happen if control is in the hands of London.

Summary

To paraphrase Einstein, if we keep doing the same things, we will get the same results.  For London that means falling behind our economic competitors and residents stuck with unsatisfactory service speeds, poor choice and variable quality.