Britain’s departure from the EU is imminent. How will severing our ties with Europe affect London’s network connectivity?

Experts seem to agree that the impact of Brexit, at least at present, will be fairly small. However, there are some implications for the capital’s connectivity. For example, the EU and the UK have different definitions of “superfast” – 30Mbps and 24Mbps respectively.

Increasingly, broadband is important to business. If you want to compete, you need the tools to be able to do it.

Ken Eastwood, Digital Nomads

In addition, government-funded rollout schemes previously had to be approved by the EU, according to Craig Melson of the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK). This means there could be a positive side to Brexit, he says. “Decisions such as future government investment will be quicker as you won’t have to go to Brussels.”

But on the other hand, Ken Eastwood, director of Digital Nomads, suggests Brexit could also impact how attractive it is to invest in the UK. “Increasingly, broadband is important to business. If you want to compete, you need the tools to be able to do it. People think broadband is a media business – but it’s important to many industries. 

“Competing within Europe or globally, you need to make the best use of technology. If you can’t get online or it’s a bad experience, it would be a consideration.”

 

In truth, only time will tell the impact on London’s connectivity problem. Matthew Evans, CEO of The Broadband Stakeholder Group, says: “I don’t think, to be frank, we know what the impact will be yet. The telecoms market is governed by regulatory framework from the EU so the toolkit Ofcom uses is derived from a European level. It will be interesting as negotiations progress, but I think it’s too early to tell.”

Read parts one, two and three of our report on London’s connectivity by Kate O’Flaherty, a journalist specialising in consumer and B2B technology. She has written for SC UK Magazine, CIO, The Times and The Guardian. Kate is one of a number of experienced journalist contributors to our second edition of HomeWork, with features and comment on the business landscape for New and Growing Companies in London.