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A Look at the Brexit Party and Green Party Policies on Broadband

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 (5:29 am) - Score 1,393

The Green Party has this week published their Manifesto for the 2019 General Election and the Brexit Party doesn’t plan to do one, although in both cases we have at least been given a very rough indication of what to expect in terms of their internet connectivity and broadband policies.

At the time of writing the only major party – other than the one currently in Government (Conservative Party) – to announce their broadband policies for the looming election has been the UK Labour Party (here), which with their plans for a root and branch style public nationalisation has proven to be extremely divisive.

NOTE: Readers should always take political pledges, from any party, with a pinch of salt until there’s more solid detail (something manifestos always lack).

So how do two of the smallest parties stack up in this competition? We’ll start with the Greens.

Green Party Pledges on Broadband

According to the Green manifesto (here), the party is pledging to “better connect rural communities through reliable broadband and mobile internet, delivered through councils who understand local connection needs” and they intend to “roll out high speed broadband.”

Unfortunately that’s all we get. No definition of what “high speed” means, no timescale or targets, no clear pledge of funding or any real detail to flesh out the promise. In fairness smaller parties rarely give much detail on their approaches to such things but nevertheless this is quite vague.

On the other hand the focus on rural communities is to be welcomed, not least since those do tend to represent some of the most deprived areas. On the other hand almost everybody in this political battle is vying to support an outside-in style approach to deployment (i.e. tackling the hardest rural areas at the same time as the easiest urban ones) and so it’s not that unique.

Brexit Party Pledges on Broadband

As stated earlier, the Brexit Party doesn’t plan to put out a manifesto, although contrary to popular belief they aren’t just a single issue political movement. Indeed the policy page on their website talks about scrapping HS2 (high speed trains) and using funds from that, as well as some of the money that they claim the UK will no longer have to pay the EU, in order to fund a number of areas including internet connectivity.

The key pledge is as follows: “Invest in digital infrastructure – now a vital personal utility – to provide free base level domestic broadband for everyone and free Wi-Fi on all public transport.” Quite a lot of public transport already has free WiFi and this aspect isn’t particularly eye catching, although the promise to provide “free base level domestic broadband for everyone” may carry more interest.

Sadly there are no details on how such a free service might be delivered, what speeds will it offer, exactly how much funding will go towards it or when this might be completed. Say what you like about Labour’s proposal for free full fibre, which has certainly attracted plenty of controversy, but at least they managed to flesh that out with a little bit of context and detail. The idea of a free service will of course be attractive to some.

At this point the Brexit Party has not indicated a particular tendency toward the public nationalisation route, like Labour, and that means they’ll have to find a way of working with the industry, which will be a tough sell. The competitive market doesn’t much like competing with free stuff and that may risk discouraging investment, particularly if they only deliver it via existing networks (i.e. making the migration harder)

Conclusions

Overall neither the Green Party nor Brexit Party are offering much information on their broadband policies, which makes them difficult to analyse. On the other hand nothing that they do say is particularly earth shattering, at least not until we get some detail and that seems – short of a shock election victory – very unlikely.

Admittedly this election is about much more than broadband (Brexit is the dominant topic, as well as the NHS etc.) and as such issues of internet connectivity will inevitably be significant less important to voters this time around than in previous such events. Now back to waiting for the other parties to publish their manifestos.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar Jizza4PM

    Hang on the Brexit party also want to offer free “base level internet” jeez, at least labour were ambitious to get us all FTTP, I assume base level to those guys means the 10Mbs threshold.

    • Avatar David

      I prefer their option, why? everyone would have a basic connection and the option to upgrade at a cost – Labours free FTTP would put tens of thousands of people out of a job and shut down many companies. Yes the engineers would still be needed but what about the rest? “Jizza” said last night he wanted to project jobs and infrastructure – whilst saying he would put people out of work!

      BP’s proposal seems much more sensible. I can tell by your username you already sucking on the Labour nutsack – so I will leave it there.

  2. Avatar dave

    I assume the Brexit party free broadband won’t allow connections to Europe to keep costs down.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Not only that, but they won’t allow coloured people any broadband connections. Well at least that’s the mindset of those ex-BNP/NF/UKIP Brexit Party members.

    • Avatar David

      Well no, because none of them were allowed into the Brexit party in the first place.

  3. Avatar Paul

    Seems a pointless artical about 2 parties who stand no chance been in no. 10

    • You’re on a site dedicated to broadband, internet and mobile. As part of that we’ve always tried to cover the related policies of each party during the pre-General Election campaign period so as to help inform our readership about who is offering what. Not everybody votes for the big parties and so it’s only fair to cover the others, rather than adopt a narrow viewpoint.

      Likewise you can never assume that a party truly stands no chance, otherwise you run the risk of being like the many people who felt Donald Trump would never become president of the USA.

    • Avatar dee.jay

      At least one news outlet is being impartial, unlike a few others…

    • Avatar David

      @mark – Well Libs Dems have on chance – we all know that – because they want to scream democracy and then undo it as soon as they get in -so they won’t

      Labour look weak – JC has allowed people like Jess Phillips put 2 fingers up to her 89% Brexit voting public, and then claims she has ” no sweat or worries” about keeping her seat – a shock is coming for her let me tell you.

      Boris looks strong but would be strong if he had not shit on the Brexit Party regarding the seat agreement.

      No one knows – In our household no one really cares, will I be voting? Nope. Why not? Because we were told last time not to waste it – and we couldn’t change things if we didn’t try – we tried and failed – and it will go on and on and on until someone decides the result suits them.

  4. Avatar beany

    “Say what you like about Labour’s proposal for free full fibre, which has certainly attracted plenty of controversy, but at least they managed to flesh that out with a little bit of context and detail.”

    Not long ago people here were mocking Boris and his ideas on broadband, Corbyn then one up’d him with a greater level of insanity.

    We now have the minor parties chirping for their 1% vote with stuff they have not thought about at all and now i see the Lib Dems, have also gone their regular route of pie in the sky contradictions when it comes to broadband.

    Quite funny as initially on this site the most venom if you look at all the news items about parties broadband pledges was towards Boris, though to me now his policy on the matter seems the most realistic, apart from maybe the time frame, the rest compared to what has come out of other parties mouths is pretty rational. (Much as i hate to say it).

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