Good broadband speeds are a vital need but parts of Hackney still face issues with slow broadband speeds.
The average download speed in London is 78.3 Mbps, however in Hackney Central it is as low as 47.4 Mbps, putting it in the worst 30 per cent of areas across the UK. Shoreditch is also in the worst 10 per cent of areas in the UK for people unable to receive good speeds.
I have been working with Openreach and urging it to address this. In some cases, there are barriers to installing full fibre as a few private building owners are refusing to grant wayleaves (the formal agreement between freeholders and their fibre providers) or are charging high fees for them. Wayleaves are the formal agreement between freeholders and fibre providers. Some freeholders refuse to grant wayleaves or are charging excessively high fees. Approximately 70 per cent of properties in Hackney South and Shoreditch are flats, which is why we are at the sharp end of this problem.
Hackney Council has been working with Community Fibre to grant wayleaves to council-owned premises. The Council expect to announce further agreements with other providers soon (see here for further information).
I pressed the most senior civil servant at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on whether the Government will push through the vested interests on this and make sure that residents do not miss out. She references TILPA (the Telecommunications Infrastructure Leasehold Property Act), which became law in March 2021. This law enables telecoms companies to access a building where the residents have requested new broadband infrastructure but where the building owner has repeatedly failed to respond to the telecoms companies' requests for access. The Government has yet to agree on a start date for the implementation of this law - see here for further details.
See here to watch the Public Accounts Committee session on this in full.