Labour pledges free broadband for all
If the Labour Party wins the General Election it has promised to deliver fast and free full fibre broadband for all by bringing parts of BT back into public ownership and creating a new British Broadband public service.
Jeremy Corbyn said the new free public service was central to Labour’s plans to transform our country and economy, “bringing communities together in an inclusive and connected society.”
He said the next Labour government will undertake a massive upgrade in the UK’s internet infrastructure, delivering fast, secure, reliable internet connections for everyone and putting an end to patchy and slow coverage. This will boost 5G connectivity across the country.
The roll out will begin with communities that have the worst broadband access, including rural and remote communities and some inner city areas, followed by towns and smaller centres, and then by areas that are currently well-served by superfast or ultrafast broadband.
Households to save £30 a month
Labour says the plan will be paid for through Labour’s Green Transformation fund and taxing multinational corporations such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, and save the average person £30.30 a month.
Only 8 to 10 per cent of premises in the UK are connected to full-fibre broadband, compared to 97 per cent in Japan and 98 per cent in South Korea. Almost 80 per cent of adults surveyed said that they have experienced internet reliability problems in the past year.
In a speech in Lancaster, Corbyn said: “The internet has become such a central part of our lives. It opens up opportunities for work, creativity, entertainment and friendship. What was once a luxury is now an essential utility. That’s why full-fibre broadband must be a public service, bringing communities together, with equal access, in an inclusive and connected society.
“It’s time to make the very fastest full-fibre broadband free to everybody, in every home in every corner of our country. Making it free and available to all will open up opportunities for everybody, at the cutting edge of social and economic change.
“By creating British Broadband as a public service, we will lead the world in using public investment to transform our country, reduce people’s monthly bills, boost our economy and improve people’s quality of life.”
Labour’s free broadband plan was met with scorn from the opposition. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “a crackpot scheme”, while the Lib Dems called it “another unaffordable item on the wish list”.