London mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Plan is set to consider digital infrastructure as a critical element of the city’s development over the next two decades.
According to the draft plan, providing a fit-for-purpose digital network infrastructure is as critical to the capital’s development as energy, water and waste management services. It must therefore be considered equally important.
It follows Mr Khan’s appointment of London’s first chief digital officer earlier in 2017.
He said his intention was to create “a pioneering smart city with world-class digital connectivity supporting more digital devices to improve the lives of Londoners and enable businesses to thrive”.
The London Plan has acknowledged that London’s digital connectivity capabilities are limited by various issues, including mobile black spots and a lack of availability of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband.
It has detailed a number of objectives aimed at improving this, explaining that digital connectivity focused on affordability, security and resilience should be promoted. It said that these connections should have a particular emphasis on the specific requirements of business clusters, such as symmetrical upload and download speeds on fixed broadband connections.
The plan has also called for a new approach to networking in new developments. For example, it has highlighted that, although the 2010 Building Regulations require buildings to be equipped with at least 30Mbps-ready in-building physical infrastructure, making use of higher-grade infrastructure could drive connectivity speeds closer to 1Gbps.
The London Plan will set out a number of new and updated policies that will govern almost all elements of London’s development. This will include building regulations, health and social care, education, transport and environmental sustainability.
It will now face consultations and public examination before its final publication in the autumn of 2019.