Connectivity demons beware the Not Spot Squad is protecting London

The Major of London has come to our save us from ourselves, as he delivers a bold promise to irradiate the city of pesky connectivity issues with his glorious Not Spot Squad.

It sounds like an idea which has been taken directly from the script of The Thick of It, but the Not Spot Squad will trawl the streets of London searching for areas where connectivity is not what the digital demographics expect. We can just imagine a horde of stuffy and sweaty civil servants, crowded around a busy white board, brainstorming a name for the connectivity crack team. If Not Spot Squad was the best of them, the rest must have been truly offensive.

The Not Spot Squad will work with local authorities where connectivity is an issue in sharing best practise from other areas of London, as well as providing access to the Digital Connectivity Funding Forum.

In truth, improving connectivity is an easy win for any politician. We’re a demanding public, especially in London where we have been spoilt by distractions and procrastinations, but the internet has become a necessity for us to function. The Not Spot Squad will allow us to swipe ourselves to love in Rotherhithe or overload on cat videos in Westminster, as it identifies weak areas for connectivity and rectifies the terrifying injustice.

“Our digital connectivity needs to be improved – internet connectivity is now a key public utility, and it is no surprise that some businesses see poor connectivity as a barrier to growth,” said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

“If we are to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access a fast and reliable digital connection.

“That means working to boost connectivity across London – tackling not-spots, delivering connectivity in the London Underground and working with local authorities to provide digital infrastructure fitting of a global tech hub.”

Talking of the underground, this is an area which has seemingly been on the governments checklist for a while, but it does appear the Mayor is taking credit for the revolutionary idea of getting 4G into the tubes. The promise has now been made to make 4G available on the platforms by the beginning of 2019, and then into the tunnels midway through the year.

While this is an ambition which will be welcomed by many Londoners who attempt to avoid eye contact and any form of engagement on the Underground, some may believe this is too big a desire. After all, if we cannot guarantee 4G coverage throughout the city, what makes our Major believe we can deliver it to the mole people?

And perhaps we should be listening to the qualified engineers instead of polished politicians. Transport for London’s (TfL) own CTO Shashi Verma has admitted that he is not ‘absolutely confident’ connectivity can be delivered on the platforms by January 2019. This statement was made a month ago, so be wary of Khan’s promises here, he is essentially rehashing old commitments from the government.

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