John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, announced in an interview with the BBC that if Labour wins the general election on 12 December, it will provide free fibre-optic broadband to all homes and businesses by 2030. The cost of completing the project comes from taxing big technology companies such as Google and Amazon, as well as partially nationalising BT’s OpenReach, making it possible.
The plan will begin with connectivity in communities with very low broadband coverage, then extend from there to towns and villages, and finally to areas that are already well connected. In an effort to reassure Telstra shareholders, Mr McDonnell said a Labour government would issue government bonds to shareholders and said the party had taken legal advice to ensure pension and BT investments were not hollowed out.
Labour’s free broadband costs are based on a report published by Frontier Economics in 2018 to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It is similar to a similar scheme in Australia, but it has suffered delays.
Labour’s policy runs counter to the Conservative stakes of the current prime minister, Boris Johnson, which will cost the party 5 billion pounds to bring all fibretos to every household by 2025. During the Conservative-led campaign in the summer, Mr Johnson said Labour’s plans to spend s5bn on full fibre free broadband were “undoubtedly ridiculous.”
Over the past decade, internet connectivity has become increasingly necessary for many people. More and more banks are closing branches in favour of online banking. The BBC is also moving more online services to the internet, despite their dependence on older people, the UK is encouraging people to use online services to vote and pay taxes, and more energy companies are offering cheaper bills to those who have paperless and online access bills.