GENERAL ELECTION TACTICS: Labour Promises Free Full-Fibre Broadband If It Wins General Elections

GENERAL ELECTION TACTICS: Labour Promises Free Full-Fibre Broadband If It Wins General Elections Credit: Shutterstock

LABOUR promises free broadband for all by part-nationalising BT and introducing a tax on tech firms to help pay and deliver the policy.

A pledge Labour promises to fulfil if they win the general elections. Though the policy wouldn’t be in full play until 2030.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC the £20bn plan was “visionary” but added that “other countries are having these visions and we’re not”.

Boris Johnson himself promised £5bn to bring full-fibre to every home by 2025. However Mr McDonnell pointed out that the Conservatives’ funding wasn’t enough to finalise the plan and would result in the UK falling further behind other countries who already have fibre more widely available.

Broadband packages in the UK cost households an average around £30, an expense people would no longer have to pay under Labour’s scheme.

Mr McDonnell informed the BBC that Labour would add an extra £15bn to the government’s existing £5bn broadband strategy. Stressing that slow broadband holds the economy back and is impeding on people’s social engagement.

The plan includes nationalising parts of BT – namely its digital network arm Openreach – to create a UK-wide network owned by the government.

Mr McDonnell said that if other broadband providers did not want to give access to British Broadband, then they would also be taken into public ownership.

“We’re putting the money in and therefore we should own the benefit as well.”

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technical correspondent for the BBC notes “Labour has come back with a plan that may be more realistic in time scale but is far more expensive in terms of state spending.”

Concluding: “The question for consumers may be who they should trust – broadband suppliers with patchy records on customer service or the state.”

 

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Cristina Hodgson

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