Plan halts TalkTalk deal

Labour’s £20bn broadband plan ‘could cost five times as much’

Jeremy Corbyn in Linlithgow yesterday (pic: Terry Murden)

Labour has promised free full-fibre broadband for every home in Britain by bringing part of BT back into public ownership.

In a speech today Jeremy Corbyn will say that a Labour government would undertake a massive upgrade in the UK’s internet infrastructure, creating a British Broadband public service.

The Labour leader will claim that investing a further £15 billion on top of £5bn committed by the Conservatives would transform the country and economy, saying it would reduce commuting and boost productivity.

But the Tories claimed the plan was a “fantasy”. Boris Johnson called it a “crackpot communist scheme”. BT chief executive Philip Jansen said: “These are very, very ambitious ideas and the Conservative Party have their own ambitious idea for full fibre for everyone by 2025. How we do it is not straight forward.

“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 another 30 or 40 billion pounds. You are not short of £100 billion. There’s also the £60bn pension fund to manage.”

Labour’s announcement has forced TalkTalk to postpone the sale of its full-fibre infrastructure arm until after next month’s general election, according to Sky News.

It says the FTSE-250 company is to delay the signing of a deal to sell FibreNation, which has ambitions of delivering ultrafast broadband to 3m homes, for at least a month.

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