Wandsworth Council has been named as the first local authority in London to offer 50 per cent of its council owned properties access to full fibre broadband, cementing its place as one of the fastest boroughs in the capital for broadband speeds.
Community Fibre, the Gigabit FTTH provider backed by Railway Pension and Amber Infrastructure (Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund), praised Wandsworth Council for setting an example that other landlords should follow in facilitating a full fibre optic roll out and confirmed that Wandsworth residents can now experience Gigabit speeds 33 times faster than the national average.
Digital minister Margot James at yesterday's fact finding trip to Battersea
Full-fibre networks can be up to 40 times faster than the part-copper networks offered by other providers. Earlier this year, Chancellor Philip Hammond set a target for 15 million homes and businesses to have full-fibre broadband by 2025.
The council celebrated its 50 per cent milestone with a roundtable discussion at Dimson Lodge in Battersea attended by Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Councillor Kim Caddy, Wandsworth’s Cabinet Member for Housing, and Jeremy Chelot, CEO of Community Fibre. Dimson Lodge is a Wandsworth Council owned clubroom for local older people, who are also sheltered housing residents and which has also been equipped with free Gigabit connectivity by Community Fibre.
Cllr Caddy said: “I am very proud that Wandsworth is leading the way in helping to make sure council tenants have access to fast, reliable broadband. Our partnership with Community Fibre has been a resounding success and together we have worked very hard to allow our tenants to make the most of fast online access and all the benefits it brings.
“I know just how important this is for our residents and it is all part of our vision to help people get on in life by giving them access to the same opportunities, regardless of background, age or where you live.”
Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: "We recently announced our ambition for a nationwide full fibre broadband network as part of our plans to build a Britain that's fit for the future. Partnerships, like the one between Wandsworth Council and Community Fibre, will be instrumental in delivering this, and we want to see more boroughs working with network operators to make sure residents get the connectivity they need for the future, as soon as possible.”
Jeremy Chelot, Chief Executive of Community Fibre, added: “The residents of Wandsworth are now some of the best connected people in the country, with access to the fastest speeds in the UK. We believe in providing better internet for everyone, and this milestone is a significant first step in our commitment to eliminating the growing issue of digital poverty – where a large proportion of UK consumers have access to some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe.”
“We would like to thank the Government for the work it has been doing to encourage full-fibre roll out. We’d also like to extend our gratitude to Wandsworth Council for being game-changers in their collaborative approach to working with network providers like us, which is instrumental in helping to accelerate London toward the future.”
“Having been raised in social housing myself, I have seen first-hand the impact the internet can have in improving lives and opportunities. Our vision for the future is one of a 100 per cent full-fibre Britain, and we are doing everything we can to make that a reality.”
Community Fibre install cables into council housing at no cost to the council or the resident. The company also provides employment opportunities for local residents and free connectivity for community spaces.
Community Fibre is on a mission to bring a better internet service to consumers in the UK. The company is at the forefront of trying to address the growing issue of ‘Broadband Poverty’, where a large proportion of UK consumers are offered some of the poorest and slowest broadband service in Europe.
Headquartered in London, Community Fibre are in the process of installing their network into 180,000 homes and businesses, with a planned 500,000 by 2022. Community Fibre was founded with the social mission of providing the fastest broadband to everyone, regardless of their background.
Over the last three years Community Fibre has raised £40 million in investments and is on track to have connected 50,000 homes in 2018.