Those looking for ultra-fast internet in the Square Mile would do well to park up on Whitefriars Street where an office block became the first building connected up to the City’s high-speed fibre broadband last week.
The UK’s first Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) connection was made at 21 Whitefriars Street in Blackfriars on 16 May, kicking off a city-wide roll-out of ultra-fast broadband services.
The technology means fibre optic cables run all the way from the local exchange to the home or business premises, offering a more reliable internet connection with faster download speeds of 1Gb – enough to stream 200 HD movies at the same time.
FTTP will be rolled out to another 12,000 premises across the Square Mile this year under Openreach’s Fibre First programme, which promises internet speeds 100 times faster than the standard copper broadband and 12 times faster than super-fast broadband.
The City Corporation has been working with Openreach to cut some of the red tape hindering the rollout, with out-of-hours and weekend installation. Policy chief Catherine McGuinness said she was thrilled to have “plugged in” the first City office building to FTTP.
“Ofcom has reported that small and medium businesses experience poorer super-fast broadband coverage compared to wider consumers,” she said.
“As a world-leading business district, 99% of City firms are SMEs, and future-proofing our digital services is a priority, particularly in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.”
Brendan Barns, founder of the London Business Forum, said it was progress he had “long dreamt about”.
“As a small business located in the heart of the City, I can’t express how excited we are by this news,” he said.
“For what feels like the longest time, my business has been operating on slow, limited broadband speeds.
“Finally, I can take the necessary steps to transform my business and my staff’s ability to be productive in the 21st century meaning of that word.
Businesses and landlords that want access to the FTTP technology need to fill out an expression of interest form to request installation for their building.