Skip to main content

Labour's bold solution for super-fast broadband

The Telecommunications industry has only itself to blame for the appallingly slow roll-out of fast broadband to the nation.   The 'market' has failed to deliver.  That isn't merely the verdict of politicians or the Labour Party. That is the verdict of the telecommunications sector.

So what is the problem?

One of the problems was highlighted just three years ago in an Ofcom report, but it failed to take the bull by the horns and propose radical solutions.

Openreach is the division of BT that owns the fibre and copper wires that run from the local telephone exchange to homes and businesses.    The 76 million miles of cables underpins all our telecom and broadband services.   

Whether or not you change your service provider, it is the same cabling.   

One option is to split Openreach off from BT, and it has been an option called for by other providers such as Sky.   They say that BT has failed to invest significantly in the network and they have criticised BT for their failure to ultra-fast broadband quickly enough.  

So, this isn't a problem invented by the Labour party.   Their solution is to hive off Openreach from BT by taking it into public ownership so that the appropriate investment and roll-out can be achieved.   But they also address another problem: fairness and opportunity.  

Labour's is a bold strategy to make access to superfast broadband equal to all.  Yes, it is costly.  There will be cries from the industry about that.  But it is an investment worth making if we want a green revolution, a revolution underpinned by new technology, and if we want to open up new ways of working.  

Labour needs now to make a case for the cost-effectiveness of its proposals.   The Tory press will go into shark attack mode.   But public ownership of the network should be considered as an appropriate option for sound economic and social reasons.  

Our broadband access is now as vital as our access to roads. Our businesses depend on it, and increasingly we rely on it.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

Work Capability Assessments cause suffering for the mentally ill

People suffering from mental health problems are often the most vulnerable when seeking help. Mental health can have a major impact on work, housing, relationships and finances. The Work Capability Assessments (WCA) thus present a particular challenge to those suffering mental illness.  The mentally ill also are often the least able to present their case. Staff involved in assessments lack sufficient expertise or training to understand mental health issues and how they affect capability. Because of  concerns that Work Capability Assessments will have a particularly detrimental effect on the mentally ill,  an  e-petition  on the government web site calls on the Department of Work and Pensions to exclude people with complex mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorders. Problems with the WCA  have been highlighted in general by the fact that up to 78% of 'fit to work' decisions are  being overturned on appeal. It is all to the good that they