New initiative to enhance broadband speeds and mobile connectivity to go ahead

Following a period of public engagement, Camden’s Cabinet last night approved an initiative to radically enhance digital connectivity for businesses and residents across the borough.

The move would also tackle mobile phone ‘blackspots’ and greatly improve business broadband speeds.The Council, recently recognised as ‘Digital City 2015’ for its range of digital initiatives, will lease rooftop spaces on council-owned buildings to telecommunications companies to host new mobile and broadband kit. The initiative will generate much needed income of up £6 million over ten years, which is up to £600k per year to spend on services.

The plans will also tackle the digital divide by providing free wi-fi access for 74 tenants’ halls on council estates, digital skills training and refurbished PCs for use by the community. This will enable tenants halls to be used for a wider range of activities, including homework clubs.

By allowing telecommunications providers to install mobile and wireless broadband masts on more than 50 council-owned buildings Camden will be able to extend previous work done to make the borough super connected for residents and businesses in the future. Camden has already provided more than 300 free PCs in libraries and free public wi-fi on high streets.

By increasing telecoms capacity and coverage in the borough Camden is also promoting economic growth and helping local businesses and services. Camden has booming professional and tech sector as well as established creative industries. Slow broadband speeds and capacity in some parts of the borough are a major challenge for the local economy.