Connected London Resources

We want to help digital connectivity stakeholders provide faster, cheaper digital infrastructure to homes and businesses in London. We will provide useful data, information about the London Plan and wayleaves information on this page.

If you are a Londoner, business, borough or provider and have any questions or issues with delivering digital connectivity in London contact the Connected London team.

Get digital connectivity for your business

  • Wiredscore Commercial Rating Scheme
    In 2015 the Greater London Authority gave grant funding to WiredScore to bring the Wiredscore Commerical Rating Scheme, which was operating in New York, to London. The scheme rates the quality of digital connectivity in offices, giving transparency to commercial tenants and encouraging landlords to improve their buildings. Find Wired certified buildings in your area here
     
  • Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
    Gigabit broadband vouchers can be used by small businesses and the local communities surrounding them to fund some of the cost of installation of a gigabit capable connection. Find out more here.

Maps and data for providers

The data below are provided to help inform network planning for new networks.

Templates for drafting legal agreements

  • Templates for fixed line connections: Wayleaves are legal agreements that allow digital connectivity providers to install infrastructure in properties owned by others and to access it on an ongoing basis to carry out work. A standardised wayleave document has been developed in partnership with many London boroughs and is being championed by the City of London. This will help reduce the time and cost for small firms seeking connections via their landlords, cutting down the legal process that delays connectivity. The document has been updated to comply with the December 2017 changes to the Electronic Communications Code. Read more on the City of London wayleave toolkit website.

 

  • Templates for mobile infrastructure: The Mayor engaged the British Standards Institution to work with a Steering Group made up of representatives of Transport for London, London local authorities, Cabinet Office, landlords, RICS, British Property Federation, network operators and their partnerships to develop consensus-driven impartial documents and accompanying guidance. This project was inspired by the success of the City of London’s Standardised Wayleave Toolkit and the City of London kindly supported the development of these documents. The Draft Documents and this Guidance Note are provided free of charge on the Greater London Authority website and are intended for use by legal representatives of mobile network operators and their site providers, in London and beyond. The use of these documents is voluntary. They can be adapted and are intended to provide a recognised neutral starting point for discussions, promoting common understandings of key issues for discussion.

           Greenfield Agreement

           Greenfield Lease

           Rooftop Agreement

           Rooftop Lease

           Guidance Note

Planning policy to get digital connectivity for new developments

The London Plan is the overall strategic plan for London. The London Plan is legally part of each of London’s Local Planning Authorities’ Development Plan and must be taken into account when planning decisions are taken in any part of London. Planning applications should be determined in accordance with it.

The New London Plan creates the strongest policies ever for Digital Connectivity. 

Policy SI6 (with minor suggested changes) states:

A     To ensure London’s global competitiveness now and in the future, development proposals should:

  1. ensure that sufficient ducting space for full fibre connectivity infrastructure is provided to all end users within new developments, unless an affordable alternative 1GB/s-capable connection is made available to all end users.
  2. meet expected demand for mobile connectivity within generated by the development.
  3. take appropriate measures to avoid reducing mobile connectivity in surrounding areas; where that is not possible, any potential reduction would require mitigation 
  4. support the effective use of rooftops and the public realm (such as street furniture and bins) to accommodate well-designed and suitably located mobile digital infrastructure.

Understand digital connectivity laws and regulation

  • Digital Economy Act 2017 - An Act to make provision about electronic communications infrastructure and services. Contains provisions around the Universal Service Broadband Obligations, the Electronic Communications Code, and spectrum.
  • Electronic Communications Code - As set out in schedules of the Digital Economy Act. Please seek guidance from legal representatives on site provider responsibilities.
  • Ofcom Templates - Including template notices, standard terms, and a code of practice. 
  • Ofcom Codes of practice - Voluntary codes agreed by industry
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Digital Connectivity Toolkit - The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have created an online resource for local authorities and communications network providers with guidance on how to encourage investment in fibre and mobile networks at the local level. It includes recommendations on digital strategies, granting access to public sector assets, local planning policies, and deployment.
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Streetworks Toolkit - A toolkit developed with HAUC, JAG UK and Street Works UK, to offer advice on street works practices. Including case studies. 

Case studies

Here are case studies of projects underway by Local Authorities in London, and by network operators. If you are interested in learning more about these case studies, or providing us with a case study get in touch with the Connected London team.

Connect Westminster

Westminster City Council has secured £2.8 million of the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 to deliver the Connect Westminster project. 

The project provides SMEs in Westminster and the West End Partnership area of Camden with up to £2,000 towards the capital costs of upgrading their broadband connection. All connections must deliver speeds of at least 30Mbps and have the capability of being configured to deliver gigabit speeds. 

The council are working with over 100 registered suppliers to help businesses get connected. To view the list of registered suppliers and to register your interest, visit the Business Unit website.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, and businesses, in addition to creating jobs and local community regenerations.

Read more about the European Regional Development Fund.

City of London

The City of London has invested in a new, world leading gigabit WiFi network offering individual users speeds of up to 180 megabits per second per user across the Square Mile - something never seen before in London. The network will be advertised as 'O2 Wi-Fi' and requires a one-time login. At these upgraded speeds, users can download a film (700 megabytes) in less than two minutes. A standard broadband line (10 megabits per second) would download the same film in around 12 minutes.

The multimillion pound project is one of the largest investments in wireless infrastructure ever seen in London and is more technically advanced than WiFi networks found in other leading global financial centres, including New York. 

Over 156 access points are now live across the City and the network has over 100,000 users.

The City of London is also rolling out a network of 200 small cells by Spring 2019, with around 400 being delivered by the end of 2019, which will provide enhanced 4G coverage at street level.  This is the largest deployment of its kind in the UK. 

Hyperoptic

Bringing gigabit broadband to the Capital - how do London boroughs take advantage?

Hyperoptic is the UK's largest residential gigabit broadband provider. Their network already passes 400,000 homes and businesses across 30 UK cities and towns - 50,000 of which are social housing properties. They are on track to making their hyperfast broadband service available to five million properties by 2025.

With full fibre, residents never have to worry about peak-time slowdowns, buffering or timeouts. They are able to download full HD movies in seconds and entire box sets in minutes - and it doesn't cost the taxpayer, property owner or social housing provider a penny. 

Despite Hyperoptic's success, they still face challenges in getting the necessary permission to install their services. This typically takes the form of a 'wayleave' - the right of way granted by the landowner to give access to the property - and this is the part of the process that needs streamlining. 

In Southwark, Hyperoptic are doing just that. They have an agreement to deploy full fibre broadband across the entire council-owned estate of Southwark; residential, commercial and TRA/community halls over the next 12 months. Hyperoptic will service the whole of Southwark Council's housing portfolio, which includes over 53,000 residential homes, nearly 1,000 commercial properties and 80 TRA/community halls. Within a year, Hyperoptic have committed that anyone who resides in social housing within Southwark will have access to gigabit broadband. But not only that, as a result of servicing these buildings, Hyperoptic's network will also pass an additional 46,000 homes and businesses in the borough - making it much easier to connect these privately-owned properties at a later date.

To register interest or get in touch, visit Hyperoptic's website.

Speeding up the process

Portfolio agreements of this nature dramatically speed up the process and can see up to 80 per cent of premises in a typical London borough 'passed' with fibre optic cable on their doorsteps within a year. This can be achieved with minimal disruption to residents. Thanks to government and Ofcom regulation, things have moved on since the 1990s and early 2000s when it was routine to see construction work on pavements and roads.  Nowadays, more often than not, Hyperoptic providers can access ducts used by other providers to lay their own fibre. It simplifies the process and means, in most cases, they're able to reach the home, or at least get near to it, without construction work.

It's not just about speed

While speed is an obvious benefit for customers, price, reliability and flexibility are too. Customers can choose the service that best suits them, including broadband only (no phone line needed), broadband and phone bundles, 12-month contracts or no contract (just 30 days' notice, no minimum term). This means that customers can choose the fastest speeds but have the flexibility of a short-term contract, at affordable rates. The 150Mbps service costs less than competitor "up to" 76Mbps services and includes 150Mbps upload speeds (compared to "up to" 19Mbps for FTTC suppliers). Hyperoptic also include free evening and weekend calls with broadband and phone services. Routers, installation and customer support are all provided. 

A template for the broadband London deserves

Today, Hyperoptic covers one in seven homes in central London, with more planned deployments to follow - but this could go much further (and faster). It's estimated that if other London councils come to bulk agreements, this number could increase to one in three and Hyperoptic would be able to connect 1.5 million homes across London with gigabit speeds - at no cost to the taxpayer.

With 2500km of fibre in the ground it would make London not only a hub for technological excellence but also a global leader in the digital age. The role of local government in enabling the future of a full fibre Britain cannot be understated. Wayleaves are the number one hindrance to urban rollouts. Hyperoptic is challenging the GLA and all London boroughs to follow the example set in Southwark and make London a Hyper City.

Hyperoptic logo 1

Community Fibre

Our history

Community Fibre was founded from the realisation by Tim Stranack, who was Head of Change at Westminster City Council, that the council’s Digital Transformation Programme could not achieve its goals unless the residents of Westminster had access to faster, better and great value Internet services.

Tim discovered that the best way to achieve these goals was to set up a new company and build a new full fibre-optic network for London. He was joined by Community Fibre’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Chelot, who had grown up in social housing outside Paris. Jeremy says it was when he got faster Internet services into his council flat in Paris that he was able to learn and study for his degree, then his masters and become one of the most successful Internet engineers in the UK.

Community Fibre signed its first wayleave with Westminster City Council in 2013. Early in 2014 Community Fibre employed Feka Samakuva, from the local Churchill Estate, into its sales team. Feka soon expressed an interest in learning about the technical side of the business and so we trained him how to carry out fibre-optic installations. By 2017 Feka was running the whole installation team and has now become a senior network engineer for the company. Just one of many examples of new employment opportunities Community Fibre can bring to the local economy and its residents. We work with the local employment teams within each borough to help identify local people that Community Fibre can employ. We believe that employing local people helps us to get the great feedback we receive from our customers.

Community Fibre subsequently signed a wayleave with Wandsworth Council in 2014. Since then it has gone on to full-fibre enable over 10,000 properties [1]owned by Wandsworth Council. This makes Wandsworth the biggest full fibre Borough in London. Community Fibre has funded a number of Digital Inclusion activities within Wandsworth including iPad training for older people, providing new computers to sheltered schemes and more recently building a new Digital Champions network within Wandsworth in conjunction with Digital Unite. The work with Wandsworth council highlights the digital inclusion initiatives Community Fibre can bring to every borough as we roll out our network.

Community Fibre signed a master wayleave with Hammersmith & Fulham in December 2017 granting permission for its full-fibre roll-out to over 17,000 properties owned by the Council. Just over two months later services were made available to the first properties in the White City Estate, making it one of the largest in London to have ultra-fast fibre optic broadband on offer in its 2,000 homes. Residents on the White City Estate now have the chance to surf the net at speeds of up to 1,000Mbps. “Together with Community Fibre, we’ve future-proofed the first of our estates with some of the fastest internet connections in the country,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy and the Arts. “We want more people to be connected in the borough as we strive to make H&F the best place to live, work and socialise in Europe.”

In the meantime Community Fibre has signed master wayleave agreements with Nottinghill Genesis, Richmond Housing Partnership, City of London, Southwark and Brent, as well as a number of private landowners.. Community Fibre are in discussion with many other London Boroughs about expanding their full fibre network and welcome any opportunity to explain to London’s Landlords how straightforward it is to fibre enable their own properties.  Full fibre-optic connectivity at no cost and minimal input from the council, allowing each party to do what they’re best at and ensure a smooth roll-out.

Community Fibre has raised over £40m to fund the continued growth of its full fibre-optic network across London and beyond. The companies investors include The Railway Pension Fund and Amber Infrastructure who have been appointed by UK Treasury to administer part of its Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF)[2].

The process

Once a master wayleave agreement has been signed, the deployment of the fibre can be very quick. The standardised City of London wayleave is the basis for all of the agreements we have signed with landowners. Sometimes we need to adjust the standard provisions to meet the particular needs of the landowner or reflect the latest legislative changes. Boroughs that have published a Digital Strategy and appointed and empowered a specific person who can help to coordinate the activities of the various departments across the council and maintain momentum have achieved the fastest deployments and now have the highest level of full fibre penetration across their property stock.

Community Fibre engage with a plethora of departments across the London Councils. Projects that progress most quickly are the ones where the housing, digital transformation or innovation and community engagement teams take the lead. Other teams that may need to input are the legal team, for confirming the wayleave terms, the economic development team with regards connection voucher schemes, the highways team with regards to civils works in the public highway and parking permissions.

Delays can occur if there is confusion over legal obligations to provide code network operators with wayleaves under the Digital Economy Act, or whether the council must obtain best value for its assets in this case. These are both items we can advise you on and provide independent third party advice where necessary. We work closely with our landowning clients to ensure that our survey reports include all the information they require to satisfy themselves that the installation will be appropriate for their buildings. We can explain why a procurement process is not required and reassure the legal team about the legislation. If London is to catch up with the full fibre take up in other global cities, landowners, including boroughs, need to understand their obligations to grant permission, in the form of wayleave, to operators. Full fibre roll out cannot proceed without these permissions.

The ability to work with housing / property teams across these boroughs, alongside the use of a standardised wayleave has enabled us to streamline the process of deployment, in fact once the wayleaves are signed, we can deploy to thousands of your homes per month, and the rate of deployment is fast speeding up.

Key lessons learned so far:

  • It is possible to bring full fibre to the properties you own within a few months of a master wayleave being signed
  • Everyone wants a better Broadband experience – take up of our full fibre Internet services has been higher than we initially expected especially our Gigabit service
  • Make sure you get full fibre to the home (FTTH). Community Fibre only install full fibre to the home solutions. We have come across landowners who thought they already had a full fibre solution installed only to find on closer inspection they actually had a hybrid fibre / copper solution. Any copper cabling will need to be replaced within the next 10-15 years
  • The Digital Economy Act means that you don’t need to run a procurement exercise to sign a wayleave. DCMS and GLA can provide further guidance on this
  • Check out what existing customers say about their Internet Service Provider at the independent review site
  • Establish the person within your organisation who will be responsible for signing off wayleaves with network operators and make these details publicly available on your web-site
  • Avoid two operators building their network on the same site at the same time as it becomes difficult to manage from a Health and Safety perspective
  • To minimise costs to the council create a set of design principles that you want all network deployments to comply to. Allow operators to self-certify against these design principles but carry out spot-checks to ensure ongoing compliance

[1] http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/news/article/14318/10000_homes_get_gigafast...

[2] https://www.amberinfrastructure.com/our-funds/national-digital-infrastru...

Newsletters

Please view the Connected London team's newsletters for information on the latest digital connectivity activity. These can be download by clicking on the various dates below. Please sign up here to receive future newsletters directly by email. 

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