Bringing business online and boosting UK growth


As the founder of Rational FX and online money transfer platform Xendpay, Rajesh Agrawal, knows a thing or two about digital business. When he was appointed as Deputy London Mayor for Business earlier this year, Agrawal warned that poor network connectivity can hinder economic growth. As a result, he became one of the key proponents of a movement to see digital infrastructure treated with the same priority as other key public utilities.

Until recently, City of London business tenants faced long negotiations with various parties each time they wanted to get broadband fibre installed. But now the City of London Corporation in partnership with Colt and other providers has significantly reduced the time and cost it takes to get London businesses online, cutting down the deployment process from months to mere weeks.

Colt and the City of London have worked closely with local developers, other telcos, landlords, legal firms and key trade associations to create a standardised wayleave toolkit for London infrastructure build outs.

These legal documents, which grant special access to land or buildings for the deployment of new infrastructure, were previously complicated and costly, requiring a separate approach from each land or building owner. The templated approach now allows carriers like Colt to deliver digital infrastructure quicker and at lower cost to customers in London.

“As someone who ran a fintech business, I know poor digital connectivity can be a major barrier for growth. We need to do everything possible to help our businesses to thrive, particularly following the recent decision to leave the European Union,” said Agrawal, when the wayleave announcement was made. “Sadiq (Khan) was elected on a pledge to treat digital infrastructure with the same priority as other key public utilities and this agreement will reduce the time, uncertainty and cost of installing broadband fibre for numerous businesses, helping them to flourish and deliver growth across the city.”

Aaron Partouche, business development director and mobile backhaul specialist at Colt, said this development was also highly relevant to the creation of smart cities.

“Aside from applying pressure, it is also paramount that regulators and governing bodies educate the wider market on how to best utilise network availability and smart city project involvement,” he said. “The City of London digital infrastructure toolkit gives broadband providers, SMEs, landlords and developers the documentation they need to deliver digital infrastructure in a fast and effective way. This incentivises the development of improved connection standards and can act as a useful resource for smart city project conceptualisation.”

To help drive growth in digital business, Colt is putting its significant network investments in the spotlight, offering a three month free trial of voice and 1GB internet connectivity for businesses. We feel many companies are making do with substandard connectivity and high cost of service, and we want to show them that there’s a better way.

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