Labour's free broadband pledge could 'slow down' rural connectiviy

Labour's plan for broadband risks 'slowing down' rural connectivity plans due to a 'collapse' in investment
Labour's plan for broadband risks 'slowing down' rural connectivity plans due to a 'collapse' in investment

Labour's plan to introduce free broadband for every household in the country could slow down rural connectivity, it has been warned.

The party's leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to give every home and business in the UK free full-fibre broadband by 2030 as part of a £20bn plan.

It was announced that Labour would nationalise part of BT to help realise the policy and introduce a new tax on tech giants to help fund it.

It comes as figures show that fewer than one in 12 UK properties have access to connections capable of speeds faster than 1 gigabit per second.



But while the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) welcomed the political focus on broadband from all parties, it said Labour's plan could 'collapse investment'.

The group's president Mark Bridgeman said: “Of course everyone likes things for free, but it is not clear how nationalisation will speed up the delivery of full broadband for everyone in the country.



“Under these plans, investment will collapse straight after the election and it will not begin again until the government is able to complete the nationalisation process.

“This could take many years and actually slow down progress, not speed it up.”

The group launched its Rural Powerhouse campaign last week, designed to unleash the potential of the rural economy.

Rural groups have said that an end to the rural and urban digital divide would support businesses to create jobs and enable people to access services.

For farmers, an improvement in connectivity would also allow the industry to embrace the technological revolution.