Policy worth stealing

Everybody’s favourite mayor is thinking big, and he’s picked on 3 of my favourite topics, 5G, broadband as infrastructure and publishing every homes broadband speeds.

As London becomes the bright shining center of the European tech scene, it’s only natural that the city would like to maintain its place at the top of the pile. That’s why mayor Boris Johnson is pledging that London will roll out a 5G network across the city by 2020. It’s part of a long-term infrastructure investment plan that’ll see connectivity given equal prominence to more conventional resources like transport, energy and water. At the same time, broadband speeds for each home in the capital will be made public alongside data from the networks in order to find communication blackspots that require additional work.

While there aren’t many details, it is great to see a city that gets it, Boris also recognises that local government has a huge role to play in this space. Labour took a step in this direction last week with its policy of getting broadband added to council GIS systems but Boris is taking to a logical conclusion.

I’ll be really impressed if London has 5G by 2020 (its not really due till sometime between 2022-2024) but he’s got the decade right.

I’m keen on a 5G agenda because it means we’ll focus on having and using ubiquitous gigabit access. I hope that by the middle of the century we’ll look back at our current ‘broadband’ issues and wonder ‘what took us so long?’.

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