City of London leader: FTTP connection opportunity could “fall away” if building owners don’t step up
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee Catherine McGuiness has sent a strongly-worded letter to organisations across the Square Mile, encouraging more enthusiastic take-up of fibre to the premises (FTTP).

The correspondence, which has been passed on to Land Mobile, follows Openreach’s recent commitment to roll-out FTTP to businesses in the city at no extra cost to landlords. This offer – according to the document – has not yet been widely acted upon.

Writing in the letter, McGuiness said: “In order to connect buildings to FTTP, Openreach requires landlord consent in the form of a wayleave, and despite its best endeavours they are finding it difficult engaging landlords to agree access.

“The lack of engagement is a highly frustrating matter for Openreach, having undertook to prioritise the City to make the necessary investment to deliver a wholesale network. [It is] also [frustrating] for the City Corporation, given our longstanding advocacy around improving connectivity.”

The letter continues: “Without sufficient take up there is a real danger that this opportunity could fall away with Openreach having to concentrate their efforts elsewhere in the UK, given their national roll out plans of FTTP and the delivery targets put in place by government.” It goes on to request recipients’ assistance in “cascading this message down to both your asset and portfolio management teams.”

Discussing the situation with the City A.M newspaper, chief executive of Openreach Clive Selley said: "The one obstacle we face is with the owners of big buildings in city of London. It’s tough in London to work out who owns buildings and contact them. It’s quite unique as it’s an international city and buildings are owned by people across the planet.

"I worry that some connections could take years if the building owners don’t come forward."

According to the Corporation, over half of the Square Mile has already been enabled for FTTP, with the whole of the city on track to being completed by the end of the year. As reported by in May, it’s expected that the programme will provide gigabit speeds of up to 20 times the national average.

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