In a speech due to be delivered in Lancaster on Friday, Jeremy Corbyn will outline his proposals to create a new British broadband public service, saying it will “bring communities together in an inclusive and connected society”.
It builds on Labour’s existing plans to nationalise the energy utilities, water companies, postal services and railways as part of its plan for a transformation of the public sector.
In addition, Openreach – the broadband network which is a distinct company within the BT group – would be nationalised under the plan.
BT’s chief executive, Philip Jansen, told BBC News he was happy to work with whoever wins the election to help build a digital Britain but warned the impact of any changes on BT pensioners, employees, shareholders – and the millions of investors via pension schemes – needed to be carefully thought through.
The UK’s opposition Labour party has promised it will give free full-fiber broadband to every home and business in the country if it wins Britain’s upcoming December elections.
The party said it would nationalize part of UK telecoms firm BT to achieve its goal, and introduce new taxes on Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple and Facebook to fund the network’s maintenance.
Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell told BBC News the plan would cost £20 billion ($25.74 billion), but would ensure that fast internet speeds were available in every corner of the UK.
The move would be part of a much broader program of nationalization the Labour party has pledged in its recent manifesto.
In 2009, Australia’s government pledged A$43 billion ($29 billion) to bring broadband to every home by 2017, though the plan has been widely considered a failure with speeds in the country lagging far behind poorer nations.