Fiber is almost indispensable in these days. And Westminster is in the heart of London. Well, technically, that’s the West End. For European tourists this is simply Central London or downtown. Londoners might not like this definition, but generations of Europeans grew up associating Piccadilly Circus to the very center of the town. Oxford Street, Regent Street, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus act like a magnet attracting visitors from all over the world, and a growing number of resident live in this central area, particularly Soho. And no fiber connectivity in Westminster!
Despite that, no fiber. Ya, no fiber in Central London. Isn’t it ridiculous? You would expect state of the heart technologies and connectivity, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The exchange covering this area is in Gerrard Street (Chinatown) and based on what reported by the BT Openreach web site for the last 16 months at least, it was due to an upgrade by December 2013, then March 2014, followed by September 2014 and more recently December 2014. Now January 2015, the message displayed is quite discouraging and disappointing (see image).
Actually fiber is all over the place in Soho and this section of Westminster. A private company offers a 50Mbps guaranteed download and upload symmetric solution for over £6,000 per year, minimum 3 years. Very nice indeed, but not affordable.
And a 17Mbps broadband solution with upload time of around 1Mbps is not you would expect in the very heart of the most vibrant European city.
Fast connectivity is a prerequisite for more Internet consumption, supporting new businesses, and selling advanced digital solutions. 4K video is just around the corner and clearly this section of the town will be excluded from any advanced service until this issue gets fixed once forever. . I’m sure there are legitimate explanations (i.e. old exchange, insufficient number of residential customers, …), but then why regularly setting a date for fiber availability and then systematically miss the deadline? Doesn’t seem particularly logical and professional.