Poor broadband and high rent: The key threats to London start-ups

A new report claims that poor broadband, high rent and a lack of appropriate office space in the UK Capital are causing tech start-ups based in London to consider moving elsewhere.

The Tech London Advocates are an advocacy group aiming to support technology start-ups in the city by helping them to find investment and talent and achieve high growth.

It put together its Joining the Dots: Building the Infrastructure For London Tech report to investigate how London can become a Gigabyte City and the opportunities presented by this.

According to the document, there are a number of barriers facing tech start-ups in the city, including high rent - just over a quarter of those surveyed said the cost of space in the Capital is enough to make them consider moving.

Meanwhile nearly half of respondents said that broadband provisioning in London is currently undermining its reputation as a centre of digital excellence.

Furthermore, 44 per cent of participants said that they had concerns that office space available in the city is not going to be able to meet the growing needs of the tech community in the next five years.

“In the two years since Tech London Advocates was created, the rate of start-up creation, growth and investment has been phenomenal,” claimed the group’s founder Russ Shaw.

“London is consolidating its position as one of the world’s pre-eminent tech centres, bringing together people, ideas and capital from across the globe.

“This is something of huge importance to the London and UK economy, and is rightly celebrated and championed by our community,” he added.

Growth Is Not Without Its Problems

However, the report highlights that this growth has not been without its challenges – it claims that London has been unable to keep up with the requirements of a fast-growing technology community.

“Across issues as diverse as funding, talent and office space, we are facing a challenge of scale,” claimed Shaw.

“Nowhere is this challenge more evident than with London’s infrastructure. Our digital industry has sprung to life in an historic city, which was built for a very different purpose.

“The capital’s culture and heritage plays a huge part in its attractiveness as a place to live and work, but planners, service provider and businesses alike nevertheless face the difficulty of trying to retrofit 21st century networks into a city where the modern still lives side-by-side with the medieval,” he added.

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