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Tech City: Report warns of problems facing future of tech hub

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 May 2015

Russ Shaw speaking at Tech London Advocates conference

Russ Shaw speaking at Tech London Advocates conference

Copyright Paul Clarke www.paulclarke.com - pls refer to licence

A new report has highlighted three major issues that could seriously affect the growth of Tech City.

As well as the broadband speeds, transport links and access to property need to be addressed to ensure that London’s technology hub keeps thriving, according to the report from Tech London Advocates, the largest independent network of tech professionals, leaders and investors.

From research done by the group, 48 per cent of the Tech London advocates believe that the lack of broadband speed and connectivity is damaging London’s domestic and international reputation and one in eight of private sector tech experts named broadband, transport and office space as the biggest obstacles in digital growth.

The research is outlined in Joining the Dots: Building the Infrastructure for London Tech, the Tech London Advocates report launched on April to coincide with the biannual Advocate conference.

Russ Shaw, founder, Tech London Advocates, said: “London’s ambition to become a digital city of the future is being undermined by the limitations of the past. Building on top of an ageing infrastructure system cannot support our growing digital economy and London is in danger of facing a crisis of scale. “Today we are making a number of recommendations into how the private sector can accelerate the improvements, construction and development the capital needs to become a GigabyteCity.”

Mark Boleat, of, City of London Corporation, said: “The digital ecosystem has proven its ability to generate jobs and investment, now the city must demonstrate its ability to house and connect the tech community.”

James Layfield, founder of Central Working, a co-working space said that office space was becoming increasingly harder to find.

He said: “Spiraling rent costs and rigid contracts are hampering startup growth, we need a fundamental rethink of the way that office space is filled and used in London. The huge growth in collaborative work spaces and creative hubs across London demonstrates the need for a more supportive and flexible relationship between landlords and tenants.”

But these issues were not the only ones that posed a threat to the future of Tech City, and air quality was also flagged as a concern – with Tech City being one of the most polluted areas in London.

Mark Walker, of, Zipcar, said: “Quite simply, we need to get people out of their cars, and to take vehicles off the road. That is the only way that space can be freed up for people to move around the city efficiently and do business.

“We shouldn’t forget either that London needs to remain an attractive place to live if it is to continue bringing in the best business talent, and air quality is a big part of that.”

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