Better connected


Better connected – Driving digital connectivity across central London

IMAGE: Marvin Meyer – Unsplash

Digital connectivity is increasingly vital in the modern world. High speed connectivity for businesses and homes is crucial to driving productivity and keeping us connected. Access to devices and the basic digital skills needed to use them is essential to digital inclusion. 

Last year, we kicked off our Digital Connectivity Programme at Central London Forward which aims to help accelerate the rollout of fixed and mobile digital infrastructure across the 12 central London local authorities. Through a collaborative and inclusive approach, we will work to ensure that everyone in the sub-region has access to the benefits that digital connectivity can bring. 

The programme works in partnership with the Mayor of London’s Connected London team, and we are grateful for the funding provided by GLA. 

We have established a Digital Connectivity Network that includes lead officers at our 12 member authorities. Meeting regularly, we help them share best practice, to work together, and to harness the huge potential benefits of increasing mobile connectivity, smart data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for our member authorities. The needs of local communities and businesses vary significantly across the sub-region, and so does the level of connectivity. But there are however, shared challenges faced in the rollout of digital infrastructure, and shared opportunities that we can work together on.

In addition to supporting collaboration across the 12 central London local authorities, we work closely with the three other sub-regional partnerships of London boroughs, with central government and the telecommunications industry to ensure learnings are spread across the capital so that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that digital connectivity brings.

Improving digital connectivity requires partnership between the digital providers that install and operate the network, and local authorities. We have seen how Digital Champions at local authorities can play a crucial role in highlighting the benefits and opportunities of digital investment, and in building more effective relationships, both within councils and with telecommunications providers. This is something that has been highlighted in recent research. Connected Care – Full Report

As our strategy continues to roll out, we focus on three key themes which aim to achieve the following outcomes:

Driving Digital Connectivity – we are working together to support greater fixed and mobile digital connectivity across central London, including the roll out of Full-Fibre and 5G networks.  

Enabling Digital Collaboration – we aim to create an effective central London network of knowledge sharing, communication and joint working to help local authorities further deliver on the digital connectivity agenda.    

Building Digital Communities – we are working with partners to support greater digital inclusion with a focus on projects that bring social value to residents in the sub-region.  

If you want to find out more about the programme, get in touch

Nicola Egan is Digital Champion at Central London Forward – 06.9.2022