ISPA slams Labour broadband manifesto pledge

The UK Labour party has unveiled its latest manifesto, which confirmed its intention to nationalise the broadband network.

“Labour will deliver free full-fibre broadband to all by 2030,” pledges the manifesto. “We will establish British Broadband, with two arms: British Digital Infrastructure (BDI) and the British Broadband Service (BBS). We will bring the broadband-relevant parts of BT into public ownership, with a jobs guarantee for all workers in existing broadband infrastructure and retail broadband work.

“BDI will roll out the remaining 90–92% of the full-fibre network, and acquire necessary access rights to existing assets. BBS will coordinate the delivery of free broadband in tranches as the full-fibre network is rolled out, beginning with the communities worst served by existing broadband networks.

“Taxation of multinationals, including tech giants, will pay for the operating costs of the public full-fibre network. The plan will boost jobs, tackle regional inequality and improve quality of life as part of a mission to connect the country.”

The ISPA, which represents ISPs in the UK, doesn’t quite see it the same way. “The entire telecoms sector has repeatedly raised strong concerns about the deep flaws in Labour’s proposal,” said ISPA Chair Andrew Glover. “The proposal is expected to disrupt current rollout plans, prevent families and businesses from accessing gigabit broadband for years on end and threaten thousands of ISPs who sell products and services through UK broadband infrastructure and the tens of thousands of people they employ.

“Broadband is fundamentally different to rail, electricity and water. Rollout is largely privately funded and we have a vibrant and innovative market with hundreds of SMEs competing with each other, offering real choice to consumers. There is a real risk that Labour’s plans jeopardise thousands of jobs and the future of small and medium sized businesses in the sector. Any plan to fundamentally change the telecoms sector should be done on the basis of a proper understanding of the market and through constructive discussions with the industry.

“We invite Jeremy Corbyn and his team to directly engage with the small, medium and large businesses that make up the ISP industry so that they can understand the impact that Labour’s plans would have on jobs, investment and existing rollout plans.”

Good luck with that Andrew. As with much else the current Labour party does, this is driven by socialist ideology and thus gives no consideration to the needs of private enterprise or economic reality in general. As Light Reading points out, Labour’s numbers are so confused that its proposals would require broadband workers to live on £5k a year. This is just one small part of an outright assault on business, private property and personal wealth that would take place if the country makes the catastrophic mistake of voting these people into government next month.

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