Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vows to democratise the internet with funding, better public services, open source software and broadband access
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to deliver superfast broadband and mobile coverage to every home and business in the UK as part of a digital manifesto that also includes support for open source software.
The Labour leader described a ‘universal service network’ that would provide the connectivity, alongside online resources for education, a digital bill of rights and a ‘digital passport’ that would be used as a secure online identity for public services.
Public funding would be made available to make the cost of connecting citizens with services such as transport, accommodation, culture and catering and any Labour government would require all software and hardware paid for by public money to be made open source.
The Bulgarian government recently made such a suggestion a legal requirement.
Broadband for all
The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has reiterated the industry’s long-held view that less regulation is needed for broadband rollout – not more.
“There are a number of interesting policy suggestions in the manifesto, including a proposed Digital Bill of Rights to protect civil liberties and the promotion of digital skills, but more information is required over a high speed broadband Universal Service Network,” argued James Blessing, chairman of ISPA.
“ISPA members are already rolling out superfast broadband nationally and locally across the UK that covers over 95 percent of the country using a range of technologies.
“Industry has led this transformation, and alongside public funding in harder-to-reach areas, speeds have risen significantly from 3.8 Mbps in 2006 to 28 Mbps today. We call on policymakers to focus on reforming regulations and barriers to rollout to make it easier for companies to deliver broadband.”
Government-funding broadband projects are on track to cover 95 percent of the UK population by 2017, and measures are under way for any property in the UK to ‘demand’ the right to 10Mbps broadband by 2020.
However the rollout has been controversial, with funding models, the speed of deployment and technology among the areas criticised. So far more than four million homes and business have been connected thanks to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and other initiatives.
All four mobile operators have committed to provide a basic voice and text service to 90 percent of the UK’s landmass and data to 85 percent, while EE has promised 95 percent landmass 4G coverage by 2020.
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