TECH CITY is the pride of both the Government and Hackney council yet it has some of the lowest broadband speeds in the country.
It should be at least 20 megabytes a second, ideally 50Mbps, yet near Silicon Roundabout it is estimated to be between 7Mbps and 10Mbps, although some users believe it is as low as 3Mbps. Speeds of up to 300Mbps are possible, as South Korea aims to demonstrate.
Rohan Sinclair Luvaglio, 34, heads Bizzby and 12 staff in the Curtain Road premises of the company, famous for its smartphone app. He told Loving Dalston: “Look, this isn’t only about broadband. If you look at the bigger picture, there is no tangible support for serious startups.
“The basic ingredients to build an entrepreneurial startup ecosystem do not yet exist in the UK, particularly in Tech City.
“Early-stage finance to support high-growth startups through to infrastructure needs rethinking.
‘Bizzby’s office is feet away from a BT box that states ‘Fibre broadband is here’. It actually isn’t because nobody wants to foot the £50,000 bill to dig up the road and make sure fibre is available to anyone starting up in an area dubbed to be the tech hub for startups.
“It’s a joke. Rents are high and talent is hard to find. Unless this gets better soon, we’ll be looking to relocate
“Having raised £6 million in funding and leading a company that is growing fast, I’ve never had a single call from anyone at Tech City to see if they can support, help or provide assistance to us in anyway.”
A million-pound Tech City start-up contest failed to find a winner among 1,000 or so contestants, according to The Sunday Times, which also reported criticism that the Future Fifty scheme helped established rather than needy young firms towards a stockmarket listing.
Infrastructure provider BT, asked to comment on Tech City broadband speeds, preferred to talk about what might one day be, telling Loving Dalston: “The two main exchanges that provide fibre broadband in the Tech City area are Shoreditch and Clerkenwell, which started accepting orders in 2011.
“Those exchanges already provide fibre broadband access to more than 20,000 homes and businesses. BT’s fibre broadband roll-out in London continues and we will announce upgraded areas when they ‘go live’.
“BT is investing more than £3 billion in rolling out fibre broadband across the UK. This includes £2.5 billion on a commercial basis to make superfast broadband available to about 19 million homes and businesses by the end of spring 2014.”
Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier commented on Twitter that she was working to get faster broadband. In parts of Shoreditch and Hackney it was “shockingly bad”.
Hamish Scott 150414
* Main pic: cowering herd at Silicon Milk Roundabout in Shoreditch. Milk, cow… geddit?
* Find out your download speed at this survey site. Beware, it may decide for itself how you rate your provider; eg, to continue the enquiry, Loving Dalston had to agree that Plusnet provided an “excellent” service, which it does not: downloading at 3.1Mbps Dalston is hardly excellent.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.