The launch of the ‘Smart London Plan’ consultation is a step forward in ensuring the city stays ahead of other European capitals in densification and 5G – and could lead to the roll out of half a million small cells across London.
The mayor Sadiq Khan and his chief digital officer Theo Blackwell are asking businesses and the tech community for their feedback on what can be done to “ensure better digital collaboration across London’s boroughs and public services, better data-sharing, improved connectivity and digital skills, and to ensure that technology is designed around Londoners’ needs.”
In a recent press release, City Hall said the ‘listening exercise’ for the Smart London Plan is looking at five different areas, one of them being to “make London the best-connected city in Europe and prepare for 5G.”
The plan will be formed from the views and feedback received, and the finished plan will be revealed during London Tech Week in June.
At the same time Transport for London (TfL) is making a major bid for government funding to tackle ‘not-spots’ – areas of poor internet provision – and provide better digital connectivity for Londoners.
All of this points back to the case for densification, mobilising small cells as a means of providing 5G, but also using them in the interim to improve connectivity and black spots in coverage.
The London Evening Standard reported that City Hall believes a network of “up to 500,000 small cells will help London to leapfrog rivals such as New York and Paris and rank alongside the most technologically advanced cities of Asia.”
Meanwhile, in the full listening exercise report, available to read online – “A Smarter London Together: Listening exercise for a new Smart London Plan” – it refers to the need for world class connectivity, which is as important to the capital city as energy or water.
It says: “The draft London Plan states for the first time that the provision of digital infrastructure is as important for the proper functioning of the city as energy, water and waste management services and should be treated with the same importance. We believe London should be a world-leading tech hub with world-class digital connectivity that can anticipate growing capacity needs and serve hard to reach areas.”
Small Cell Forum is already leading the debate on densification and making the case for small cell networks to underpin 5G service delivery. SCF has also pointed to the need for Europe to keep pace with densification programs in the US and Asia. To this end, it recently provided expert support to the EC’s Communication Committee in Brussels. The provisional findings of that group have just been published and are summarised here.
If you want to submit feedback for the listening exercise, you can find the links and email address here.