The UK Labour party has made an election pledge to give every home and business in the UK free full-fibre broadband by 2030 – if it wins the general election.
The plan would mean the re-nationalising part of BT to deliver the policy, and the introduction a tax on tech giants to help pay for it. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC the £20 billion (€23.5bn) plan was “visionary”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised £5 billion to bring full-fibre to every home by 2025. McDonnell said the Conservatives’ funding plan was “nowhere near enough”, and would leave the UK falling further behind other countries who already have fibre more widely available. According to a report from regulator Ofcom earlier this year, only 7 per cent of the UK has access to full-fibre broadband – known as “fibre to the home” or FTTH.
“Everywhere I go they’re saying [they have] either not got broadband at the speeds they need, holding our economy back, or it’s actually impeding on people’s social engagement,” said McDonnell.
The plan includes nationalising infrastructure provider Openreach to create a UK-wide network owned by the government.
A Labour government would compensate shareholders by issuing government bonds, according to McDonnell, who said Labour had taken legal advice, including ensuring pension funds with investments in BT are not left out of pocket.