Britain’s opposition Labour Party plans to nationalize BT’s broadband network to provide free internet for all if it wins power.
Labour’s proposed overhaul of the telecoms infrastructure, an addition to its already broad nationalization plan, would be paid for by raising taxes on tech firms such as Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Facebook and using its Green Transformation fund.
Labour plans to nationalize Openreach – the fixed-line network arm of the country’s biggest broadband and mobile phone provider – as well as parts of BT Technology, BT Enterprise and BT Consumer to create a “British Broadband” public service.
“A Labour government will make broadband free for everybody,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a speech. “This is core infrastructure for the 21st century. I think it’s too important to be left to the corporations.”
“We’ll tax the giant corporations fairly – the Facebooks and the Googles – to cover the running costs,” said Corbyn, adding the public had been forced to pay far too much for “rip-off broadband” and the party would transform the British economy.
Johnson derided Corbyn’s plan, saying it would undermine the world’s fifth largest economy and cost taxpayers dearly. He has promised to roll out full-fiber broadband to all homes by 2025.
The national Openreach network is also used by BT’s rivals, including Sky, TalKTalk and Vodafone, to provide broadband to their own customers. Its only competitor with widespread coverage is Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global.
TalkTalk said on Friday a deal to sell its FibreNation business had stalled after Labour’s announcement.
Britain’s opposition Labour Party’s plans to nationalize parts of telecoms provider BT’s network and provide free full fiber broadband may cost more than 100 billion pounds ($127 billion), BT chief executive said.
“These are very, very ambitious ideas and the Conservative Party have their own ambitious idea for full fiber for everyone by 2025 and how we do it is not straight forward,” Chief Executive Philip Jansen told the BBC.
“It needs funding, it is very big numbers, so we are talking 30 to 40 billion pounds.. and if you are giving it away over an eight year time frame it is a another 30 or 40 billion pounds. You are not short of 100 billion pounds.”