The UK’s Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK) – the voice of the UK Internet industry to policy makers, the media and the public – has responded to the launch of the Labour Party’s General Election manifesto which has formalised its previously—announced policy of renationalising parts of the UK industry, including BT’s infrastructure subsidiary Openreach, and to offer free broadband to all.
“The entire telecoms sector has repeatedly raised strong concerns about the deep flaws in Labour’s proposal,” declared 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.”