Town mouse: London broadband woes

Proudly, Country Life has been at the forefront of the campaign to provide country people with better broadband speeds.

As ever more aspects of life go onto digital platforms, households whose internet services still come clunking along copper wires will soon be at a considerable disadvantage. Our country cousins should, however, spare a thought for us town mice. I live in Pimlico, but BT, which owns the cables, is quite happy to leave this part of Westminster in the digital Stone Age. We’d thought the problem was the junction boxes.

We’re in a conservation area: there were arguments over the design of new ones and who would pay certain planning fees. On those scores, harmony has broken out between BT and Westminster City Council, but a letter received by our MP, Mark Field, reveals that not all the boxes will be upgraded.

About a quarter of them are ‘not commercially viable as they are connected to too few premises’. BT further pleads narrow pavements, underground services and interconnecting ductwork. Strangely, we’d be better off in the Shetlands, where the whole of Lerwick will, thanks to grants, have superfast broadband by 2016. Meanwhile, the heart of London, a global city, languishes.

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