What is DfL ?

Digital for London will be a new agency – wholly public-owned and governed by the mayor.  DfL will seek to lift London’s digital infrastructure to a globally competitive Gigabit City standard by 2020.


What’s a Gigabit City?

  • It’s a city where anyone – at home or in business – can make use of ultrafast highly responsive digital connections that are future-proofed to cope with whatever new purposes are required.


  • Gigabit = 1000 Megabits/second – between 10 to 40 times faster than BT’s current ambitions and more than 4 to 10 times faster than Virgin Media’s cable connections – and providing that speed in both directions – ultrafast downloads and just as fast upload.


  • London must aim to compete with Singapore, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Peterborough UK and Chattanooga (Eastern Tennessee) and many other cities around the globe.


Why is it needed?

  • The current ambition is at best a halfway house – we need to retain London’s status as a world city.
  • We live in a fast-changing world where the future is unknown but we need only build the infrastructure once.
  • Future (5G) mobile services will depend on it.
  • Being more efficient (and fibred) it will vastly reduce energy consumption and make the capital more sustainable.
  • To reduce road congestion we need far more people enabled to work from or near home
  • To ensure that our children are not stuck with trying to use repurposed old telephone cables for modern communications.


What will it cost – who will pay?

  • The market has failed – we need mayoral power and authority to meet Londoner’s future needs.
  • The agency itself will cost very little to administer and the infrastructure investment will be a combination of private funding and, only where necessary, long-term public investment.
  • Surpluses on trading will (like Transport for London) be retained and invested for the public good.
  • Decisions, like the speed of network deployment, will be taken in agreement with London Boroughs and priority investment, where required, will typically be funded through the Local Government Association’s Municipal Bonds Agency.


What difference will it make?

  • It will attract further investment and create more and better jobs
  • It will massively assist young people in their education
  • It will reduce inequalities of opportunity and digital exclusion
  • It will ensure economic growth and encourage stronger community development
  • The digital capacity will be a shot in the arm for Londoners’ health and wellbeing.


Who needs it?

All Londoners need DfL – whether they are in business, at home or at leisure, young or old – and it will be vital for reducing the cost and boosting the efficiency of all your public services.  (and central government)


Yet more red-tape?

  • Not at all – for far too long private providers have proceeded at their own pace providing the technology that suits their own agenda. Tolerance of poor standards can longer be allowed to constrain Londoners’ futures.
  • This is a time for much greater ambition and DfL will set the affordable standards (and economic growth) that a world class capital should expect.
  • London has many levers to deploy to ensure that future shoddy work and underinvestment will be disincentivised and higher aspirations prevail.


Is this a risk?

No – many other cities around the world have already proven the concept.  There is, however, a risk that without DfL London will get left further behind.