City of London Corporation policy chairman, Catherine McGuinness, explains how the Square Mile is looking to become a world leader in the digital revolution.

London, the UK and the world are in the midst of a digital revolution that is transforming the way residents and local businesses use technology on a daily basis.

We are committed to ensuring the City of London remains at the cutting edge not only to maintain our position as a top global destination for business, but also so that everyone in the City can connect with our digital future.

Nowhere is this clearer than in our drive to become the UK’s first and foremost ‘Smart City’ as encapsulated within our Gigabit City initiative, which aims to improve wired and wireless connectivity across the Square Mile.

This commitment can be demonstrated at all levels within the City Corporation, including through the programme of our new Lord Mayor, Peter Estlin, who will be focusing on promoting innovation and technology, championing digital skills, and addressing digital inclusion as part of his broader campaign of ‘Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today’.

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Improving wired and wireless connectivity across the Square Mile is a big part of making London into a ‘smarter City’

This week he will meet with leading businesses, charities, educators, and investors at a Digital Skills Summit at Mansion House to look at how emerging technologies are transforming the way we live, work and communicate with each other.

For a long time, the City lagged behind other global and UK cities in the provision of affordable gigabit broadband.

Our response to this has been twofold; delivering new ultrafast fibre broadband infrastructure at affordable price points, and working with wireless networks within the Square Mile using City Corporation-owned street furniture and buildings to ensure that mobile ‘black spots’ are eliminated.

To deliver mobile connectivity we delivered a world-leading and free gigabit Wi-Fi network in 2017. This saw the City of London Corporation and CTIL recently awarded the Wireless Connectivity Award at the Connected Britain Awards 2018 and the Best Connected City Deployment at the Wireless Global Congress 2018.

Residents living on the City of London Corporation’s Avondale Square and Southwark social housing estates have been the first to receive the new Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) connection, with social housing estates in Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and the City of London expected to be completed in 2019.

Currently, most of the social housing estates run by the City of London Corporation have copper wire broadband, which is limited to speeds of 10 megabits per second or less.

The new broadband will bring speeds up to one gigabit per second – 100 times faster than copper wire broadband – at affordable prices, with a low priced, no contract option broadband service for those on benefits or low incomes.

With our lives now more reliant than ever on technology, speedy internet has become a necessity, not a luxury. Our commitment to investing in the digital skills and infrastructure of the City of London is second to none.

We will continue to work hard to deliver award-winning projects to ensure that this becomes the smartest business district of all.

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