Labour Promises Free Fibre Broadband for the Nation... If it Wins the Election

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Labour party made one of the most staggering manifesto reveals of all time last night, with its shadow chancellor announcing a bonkers plan to nationalise much of Openreach in order to deliver a nationwide, state-owned ISP that would make all broadband connections free. And made of fibre.

The specific quote, and write this one down as it's worth remembering, is "...free full-fibre broadband to all individuals and businesses by 2030," and yes, even people who live down a lane off the end of a lane along a small countryside lane that branches off a larger lane are covered, as Labour's money man John McDonnell says the scheme would build in the worst-connected places first, prioritising rural not-spots before hooking up the densest towns. If that happens I'll paint my house red and rename my child Tony Benn.

To deliver this, a hypothetical future Labour government would nationalise Openreach and some necessary parts of BT, then add a further £15bn to the £5bn already set aside to help enable nationwide "gigabit" connections, with the extra money coming from a new tax on multinationals – and McDonnell specifically naming Google and Facebook as the ones expected to pay up.

A new public company called British Broadband (oh no) would be created to run everything. Should, that is, should Labour actually win enough seats to call itself the government next month. [John McDonnell via BBC]