70 – 72 Clifton Street
Prime Minister David Cameron
10 Downing Street
Friday 13th February 2015
Dear Mr. Cameron,
Fibre Broadband Connection for Businesses in London
We are a small business based in the heart of the City of London, in close proximity to the Silicone Roundabout at Old Street and we are facing a problem; we cannot get British Telecom to install fibre optic broadband into our office.
At first we thought it might just be us, and that we just had to wait for the service to come to us, but on further investigation, we see that there is a vast area of central London that has a meagre 0-20% coverage of this superfast broadband coverage – isn’t that shocking? London is a major global business hub, yet when it comes to internet speeds, we are left behind.
We found a map that had been compiled by OFCOM that shows the percentage of superfast broadband (SFBB) coverage across the UK. It is quite worrying to see that the main business areas of London are only covered by 0-20% yet as soon as you branch out into more residential areas, the coverage jumps to between 60% and 100%.
We have recently penned a letter to Her Majesty the Queen (we have enclosed this letter for your perusal), as we noticed that Buckingham Palace is in the area of 0-20% coverage, and it really isn’t fair that she wouldn’t have access to the BT Infinity service at her home address. We also noted, Mr. Cameron that the same problem occurs at 10 Downing Street, and The Palace of Westminster.
Now we are sure that both you and The Queen have a leased internet line installed into your homes and places of work, to ensure reliability for your telecommunication needs, but that isn’t an option for everyone. Leased internet lines are not an option for small businesses such as EC-MSP, and although we are very aware of the Connection Voucher scheme, this doesn’t make a difference to the ongoing monthly cost to us, it will only mean a reduced installation charge for the line.
This begs the question of how our tax is being spent; why pour thousands of our hard earned pounds each month into a leased line internet connection for the Government when you could instead force BT to invest in upgrading the telecommunication networks across major cities in the UK which would then mean everyone would be able to have access to the SFBB connection from BT?
To us, the Connection Voucher scheme seems misguided; why not invest the money set aside for that into upgrading the whole infrastructure so that you can make the superfast broadband available to everyone, and not just businesses who can afford the ongoing monthly costs? We are also in the process of contacting Vince Cable MP and Sajid Javid MP to ask them more on this subject, and how they can justify this money being allocated and benefitting only those who apply and are willing and able to spend huge amounts monthly – what about the small businesses?
Just today, we were alerted to Virgin Media who have announced a £3bn investment into fibre optic broadband, but this relates to an additional 4 million homes getting the service installed but no mention of businesses – why is this? Virgin estimate that the £3bn investment will be worth £8bn “in terms of stimulating UK economic activity” – imagine the economic activity of getting this investment into businesses rather than residential addresses, and if BT were to invest the same the possibilities are endless.
Mr. Cameron, wouldn’t you like to have a much lower monthly bill for your internet at 10 Downing Street and to be able to take advantage of the BT Infinity deals that are advertised everywhere? I know that we would just like the opportunity to have a reliable and cost effective internet connection to our workplace that currently isn’t an option.
We look forward to your thoughts on this subject, and hearing about your plans for improving and updating telecommunication infrastructure across the UK as a whole, and not just in rural areas. We do understand that it is a very busy time for you, with the General Election looming, but this is a very big problem that we need you to help get sorted out.
Enc. Letter To The Queen
Read the Prime Minister’s response below: