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Economic Innovation within Established Markets

February 4, 2011 - 5 Comments

If you’ve been following my commentary about the role of telecom infrastructure investment in new master plan cities, such as Songdo in South Korea — or Howard’s posts about recent developments in Africa — then you may have assumed that the economic gains are likely being reaped mostly in these type of markets. Actually, the positive impact is applicable to all types of environments, including established markets.

As an example, consider the forward-looking plans for the East London Tech City, in the heart of one of Europe’s largest and most established metropolitan areas. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has set out the government’s ambition to build on the existing cluster of technology companies in East London, to create a world-leading technology center.

This ambitious agenda is part of the UK government’s program to create new jobs, diversify the economy and support sustainable economic growth. It builds on the growth of technology companies in the area with plans to use the Olympic Park press and broadcast centers beyond the 2012 Games — as an innovation accelerator, offering flexible office space, facilities and expertise.

Bringing Together Creativity and Energy

Several leading companies have already said they will commit to invest in the long-term future of the area. I was born and raised in the East End of London, this is my home town neighborhood, so I was thrilled when Cisco announced a pledge of support for the design and implementation of an initiative called the British Innovation Gateway (BIG).

“The Prime Minister’s Tech City Initiative is an excellent example of how government agencies can spur innovation and growth,” said CEO of Cisco John Chambers. “This project is a logical progression of the work we’ve done in the east of London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and we are delighted to work with the UK Government as it serves as a reminder of how business and government, working together can turn vision into reality.”

British Innovation Gateway benefits will include:

  • Supporting British innovation with Cisco’s insight into the growth sectors of the global technology industry around Smart +Connected Communities and mass urbanization.
  • Significant investment of Cisco’s strategic consulting and development capabilities through extensive commitment of Cisco’s senior business consulting group (IBSG) resources to the BIG initiative.

Infrastructure Preparations for the 2012 Olympics

Working with fellow London 2012 technology partners, UK service provider BT Group will carry every image, every commentary, every sports report, and every visit to the London 2012 Games web site, along with countless millions of calls, emails, and text messages.

BT will be providing communications facilities on a massive scale encompassing WAN, MAN, LAN, IP telephony, TV and broadcast transmission, mobile, and fiber-to-the-premise services.

Overall, the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games adds up to BT installing a whole new town’s-worth of telecommunications infrastructure in just over three years.

Connecting with London-Based Entrepreneurs

I’m planning a visit to London in the spring, I’m based in Austin, Texas, and would like to learn more about the current status of the broadband infrastructure development plans. Also, TelecomTV has a special report video on “London’s Techie Eastenders.” I was hoping that when I visit the area to capture some similar stories in video commentary.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to connect with East London entrepreneurs that are part of the UKTI “Digital Mission” delegation attending the upcoming SXSWi event here in Austin. You can also reach out to me, ahead of the event, via LinkedIn.

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  1. Hi David - Good to read the article you wrote here - I am very excited about all of the Olympic and BIG program because I live in Bethnal Green and I am actually seeing the developments happen and change the feel of the area. If you want someone to show you around, more than happy to in the summer. all the best Andy

    • Hello Andy, thank you for your offer. I'll reach out to you via Cisco email -- I've already made travel plans for early May. cheers, David

  2. Then I would visit

    • @Mike, I did go to the TechHub website -- for the first time -- this past weekend. Seems to me that I'm out-of-touch with recent developments. I wasn't aware that the local Tech community was evolving so rapidly. But perhaps I'm excused, after 30+ years not living and working in the area, I'm now a mere visitor when I return "home" -- to places like Old Street and Shoreditch.

  3. A friend of mine in London pointed me to the following video of a "Fly-through of the vision for Olympic Park in 2040" --