13 Feb 2024

Event recap: techUK/GLA London Telecoms Showcase 2024

On 7 February, techUK, in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA), launched a brand new telecoms summit, the London Telecoms Showcase. This convened some of the capital’s key connectivity players from across industry, public stakeholders and policymakers, and the businesses and service providers seeking to maximise the benefits advanced connectivity will bring to London.

We are delighted to have hosted a packed audience and a stellar line up panellists addressing some of the key digital infrastructure and connectivity challenges. Topics ranged from the enabling role of digital infrastructure to drive social and economic benefits, including job creation and business growth. The continued mission to support digital inclusion, with over 1.6m Londoners still digitally excluded, with initiatives already underway.

A few takeaways from the day? 

  • Collaboration between industry, local authorities, and government is crucial to deliver the digital infrastructure and realise the benefits that digital connectivity can bring.
  • Industry continues leading the way in bringing connectivity benefits to businesses and citizens across the capital city. But barriers remain in fixed and mobile network rollout that must be addressed.
  • Digital inclusion, and ensuring no person is left behind, must be front and centre of all government and industry digital connectivity strategy.

Highlights from the summit, including an overview of the keynote speech from Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London, and video recordings from panel sessions, can be viewed below:

Keynote Speech from Theo Blackwell

Opening the day, was the keynote speech from Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London.

Theo began with London's ‘Smart City’ journey over the past four years. This includes:

  • The launch of Open data platforms
  • Establishing the GLA’s Connected London team and the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI)
  • The partnership with Transport for London and Boldyn Networks
  • The launch of the Get Online London digital inclusion service.

Theo drew on the city's Smarter London Together 'Listening Tour' to identify key priorities. This concluded on two key areas of:

  1. 'Fix-the-Plumbing' with better connectivity, joined-up city data, and collaboration
  2. 'Put people first' to champion user-design, be open, create useful things, and inspire trust.

The Connected London team encourages private investment in fibre infrastructure across the city and the New London Plan sets comprehensive urban planning policies on connectivity.

Showcasing collaboration, the London office of Technology and Innovation has improved innovation collaboration across 32 boroughs, and has over 30 projects and over 50 resources for London Boroughs since 2019. 

The role of data was also a theme throughout Theo's keynote speech. For instance, drawing on the Data for London platform that will be launched this Summer to improve data governance. As well as upcoming ‘City data services’ including the Planning Datahub, Infrastructure Mapping Service and London Underground Asset Register.

Concluding remarks drew on the progress and partnerships for the Greater London Authority to date, but with recognition that there is more to be done. What will success look like? When every Londoner can access the connectivity they need. Finally, Theo outlined key upcoming challenges and priorities. This included the need for the UK Government to recognise the challenges for digital connectivity in urban areas. As well as enabling council capacity to grow and procure together but scale, with continued market making challenges. For smart infrastructure, the mayor’s priorities include net zero (retrofit) and safety (including CCTV upgrades).

London's competitiveness and global hub for business through the roll out of fibre and 5G

This panel focused on the potential of London’s competitiveness and global hub for business through the rollout of fibre and 5G. 

London represents the UK’s most global financial centre – with unmatched human, market, and digital connections. London’s growth as a global business hub and how we can make the city better for everyone fundamentally depends on the delivery of world-class infrastructure, including digital infrastructure. Building world-class infrastructure systems will support the connectivity London needs to bolster the economy and improve quality of life for everyone.  

Panellists included:

  • James Fredrickson, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Vorboss
  • John Kavanagh, Director of Infrastructure, BusinessLdn 

  • Jamie Hayes, Director of Fibre and Streetscape, Boldyn Networks 

  • Sara Kelly, Digital Connectivity Lead, GLA 

You can watch a recap of this panel below.

 

Digital inclusion: Ensuring the rollout of fibre and 5G is inclusive and accessible for all Londoners

This panel focused on the digital inclusion within London. The focus was on ensuring that digital connectivity is accessible for all Londoners.  

Connectivity is a key driver of digital inclusion, and the deployment of communications infrastructure can fuel the development of a digital society and be a main driver of economic progress. But areas of the capital remain poorly served, suffering from 'not-spots', and 'digital deserts'

Panellists included:

  • Helen Milner, Chief Executive, Good Things Foundation
  • Elizabeth Anderson, CEO, Digital Poverty Alliance

  • Vanessa Higham, Government Affairs Manager, Vodafone

  • Alex Williamson, Business Development Manager, ITS Technology Group

  • James Prowse, Regional Manager - Social Housing, Hyperoptic

You can watch a recap of this panel below.

 

Collaboration and the Dig-Once Approach

Gabriele Caprotti, Streetworks Lead - Infrastructure Coordination at the Greater London Authority (GLA) presented on collaboration and the dig-once approach.

You can watch a recap of this presentation below.

 

Westminster: A tale of two cities

David Wilkins, Head of Digital Place, City of Westminster Council gave an update on Westminster's intervention to drive investment in broadband, and the knock on impacts of this across the local economy. As well as the state of fibre and mobile in Westminster, with future priorities including the 'Smart City' and OpenRoaming.

You can watch a recap of the presentation below.

 

Thanks to all of our delegates and speakers for making the London Telecoms Showcase such a success. 

 


Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Mia Haffety

Mia Haffety

Programme Manager - Telecoms and Net Zero, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

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techUK's Communications Infrastructure Programme brings together government, the regulator, telecom companies and its stakeholders around four themes; shared infrastructure, security and resilience, unlicensed spectrum and our 5G ecosystem. We do so to lower the cost to the sector of deployment, ensure confidence in networks, spur innovation and unlock value for all parties in 5G. This is delivered through a mix of thought leadership, multilateral engagement and ecosystem building.

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