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]