Labour pledge free broadband for all by 2030

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Labour Party has promised to provide every home and business free full-fibre internet by 2030, if it wins the general election.

It would mean bringing parts of the BT broadband provider into public ownership under a new British Broadband public service.

Following the announcement, shares in BT dropped by four per cent and the sale of TalkTalk’s full fibre broadband business, FibreNation, has been put on hold.

Labour said it would result in a massive upgrade to the UK’s online infrastructure and save users an average of £30.30 a month.

Jeremy Corbyn will announce the plans officially today in Lancaster, where he is expected to promote the proposal that will "bring communities together, with equal access, in an inclusive and connected society”.

The party said it will pay for the multibillion-pound scheme through its Green Transformation fund and taxing corporations such as Amazon, Facebook and Google.

Costs would include a one-off £15.5 billion payment to rollout the full-fibre network, plus the government’s existing and not yet spent £5 billion commitment.

However, the Liberal Democrats – who have pledged £100 billion to tackle climate change – have criticised the plans as “ridiculously and unnecessarily expensive”.

The party’s deputy leader and finance spokesman Sir Ed Davey told talkRADIO: “You can achieve this for far less money through tough regulation.”

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “We don’t hand out water or gas or electricity or other things free so it would be the first utility ever to be handed out free.

“I think there’s a real danger in that and it’s that you end up with very low quality.”

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