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Council looks to roll out fast broadband across borough starting in Rotherhithe

The council has revealed plans to roll out broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps across 70 per cent of the borough

Slow internet speeds could soon be a thing of the past for Rotherhithe residents. The council has revealed its plans to roll out broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps across 70 per cent of the borough, beginning in Rotherhithe. In a cabinet report, Councillor Fiona Colley said the council would sign lease agreements with network operators within the next three months, which would see wireless broadband infrastructure installed on council-owned buildings.

It will be welcome news for Rotherhithe, where broadband speeds are so slow that some residents trek to Canada Water station to use the Wi-Fi. The council will also agree a ‘wayleave strategy’ for the installation of fibre broadband on council estates and blocks on a “first come, first served, non-exclusive basis”. “We will continue to work with the GLA [Greater London Authority] and government, seeking to secure funding to fill any remaining not spots and to ensure that full fibre broadband is available in all parts of the borough,” added Cllr Colley, cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance.

“We have already submitted an expression of interest to access part of the ?200million DCMS funding for broadband projects and are awaiting further information on the next steps of this programme. “Crucially, we are establishing a digital infrastructure team and a cross-council board to implement our digital infrastructure strategy and to stay abreast of technological improvements and innovations and funding opportunities.” The council is also involved in a pilot scheme to roll out ten ‘smart benches’ across Southwark.

Smart benches are solar-powered seats providing mobile device charging ports and free Wi-Fi access.

Several ‘InLinks’ could also replace traditional pay phones in the borough, providing free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for access to city services, maps and directions.

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