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London startups slam Tech City broadband as 'not fit for purpose'

But BT looks to save the day
Thu Jul 31 2014, 13:33
A view of the London tech city

LONDON TECHNOLOGY STARTUPS have slammed Tech City's broadband offering as "not fit for purpose", a frustration that has prompted some companies to leave the area.

That's according to The Guardian, which reports that "lengthy installation delays and high fees" have caused some start-ups to move away from the area, while others have struggled to get much joy out of the so-called "high-speed" broadband.

A small company called Transferwise told the newspaper of its Tech City issues, which involved encountering a four-month delay while the ISP tried to get permission to install a fibre cable.

Transferwise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus said, "It's ridiculous that it takes so long for a company building an online business to get internet - not to mention that we had to pay rent on an office we couldn't use for months.

"If the UK is serious about making Silicon Roundabout into a global tech hub, we need to do something to speed this up. Now it's all installed, we are happy with the speed and reliability of the connection but it took far too long to get to this point."

CTO of startup firm Skimlinks Richard Johnson expressed a similar frustration, which found it waiting five months for fibre to be connected at its Tech City premises. He said, "Five months without fibre for an internet-based organisation is difficult to swallow. Our old office was vacated and demolished in the time it took to get fibre connected.

"There is nothing more frustrating than rapidly needing to provision new servers and seeing your terminal take seconds to acknowledge each keystroke."

A group of startups and smaller internet service providers (ISPs) are due to meet Labour MP Meg Hiller on Thursday to discuss the problem. Hiller has spoken out on the issue previously, branding the situation a national embarassement.

Speaking to the Hackney Gazette, she said, "You can't just throw money at a problem, it's the infrastructure that needs changing."

BT is looking to do just that, as it announced a new trial of fibre broadband in the area on Thursday, which will offer speeds up to 80Gbps. µ


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