Government plans infrastructure investment vital to UK competitiveness

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently unveiled his Infrastructure Plan 2050 outlining what the capital will need as it rapidly approaches megacity status. Sixty-two years ago, there were only two megacities in existence – New York and Tokyo. Today there are twenty-three with another 9 expected by 2025.

With London expected to grow by 37% to 11 million by 2050, the plan covers everything from homes, water, energy, schools, transport and digital connectivity. These are undoubtedly all the elements needed to give Londoners the quality of life they will expect of a world class megacity.

Crucial to the success of any megacity is its ability to be smart. Employment in the capital is currently just under 5 million but this figure is expected to reach 6.3 million by 2050. From emergency services relying on quick and secure communication networks, to telecom networks connecting businesses and rapid online trading systems in the city – connectivity is at the core of powering London’s future megacity status.

But our capital’s legacy infrastructure needs addressing. Compared with other smart cities around the world, London lags behind. In Chicago, the city uses analytics to spot streetlamp outages and when trash cans are stolen. In Boston, citizens can report problems to local police via SMS.

London must invest in its infrastructure now if it wants to support future innovations like these, which is why the Mayor has laid out specific funds dedicated to digital. The plan includes assembling a new board comprised of infrastructure providers, regulators, engineers, developers and advisors from national, regional and local government. The public has also been asked to give feedback on proposals before the final report is published in 2015.

But it is not just London that needs investment if the UK is going to remain competitive. The Government has also recently announced that its £1.7 billion nationwide broadband project, aimed at bringing internet services to remote parts of the UK, is back on track. The move will give those in the countryside equal access to high quality digital services, driving economic growth.

Without forward-looking IT infrastructure, simple processes like connecting to services from a mobile device will experience the same shortcomings of previous inefficient legacy systems – delays, disruptions and even black zones. At its core, a megacity and internet access for all is about making smarter connections between citizens, the Government and businesses. The efficient management of these connections is an important factor in helping cities with booming populations like London, as well as the rest of the UK, stay connected.

A smart London is a prepared London. Recognising the need for investment now for the future is an important step in the right direction. At Interxion, having a robust state of the art infrastructure is crucial to supporting our customer’s needs today as well as for the future. We’re excited to have the London Mayor raising awareness for such an important issue – not just for Londoners but for businesses competing on a global stage.