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Labour promises to introduce free broadband for all if party wins general election

Mark McLaughlin

Labour promises to introduce free broadband for all if party wins general election

A Labour government would guarantee free broadband for everyone in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn is set to announce today.

The party will nationalise parts of BT Openreach, which runs much of the existing digital network, to create a new British Broadband public service if it wins the general election.

Tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google would be taxed to help pay for the multi-billion pound policy.

Communities with the worst broadband access would benefit first from the new policy, which Labour say will save the average consumer £30.30 a month.

Speaking at a campaign event in Lancaster, Corbyn is expected say: "The internet has become such a central part of our lives. It opens up opportunities for work, creativity, entertainment and friendship. What was once a luxury is now an essential utility.

"That’s why full-fibre broadband must be a public service, bringing communities together, with equal access, in an inclusive and connected society.

"It’s time to make the very fastest full-fibre broadband free to everybody, in every home in every corner of our country. Making it free and available to all will open up opportunities for everybody, at the cutting edge of social and economic change.

"By creating British Broadband as a public service, we will lead the world in using public investment to transform our country, reduce people’s monthly bills, boost our economy and improve people’s quality of life."

As well as the tax on multi-national internet firms, the new policy would also be funded from Labour's Green Transformation Fund.

A new Charter of Digital Rights would also protect consumers' data, Labour said.

But Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said the "fantasy plan" would cost taxpayers tens of billions of pounds.

She said: "Corbyn is clearly so desperate to distract from his party’s divisions on Brexit and immigration that he will promise anything, regardless of the cost to taxpayers and whether it can actually be delivered. What reckless idea will be next?"

Read the most recent article written by Kevin Schofield - Jeremy Corbyn refuses to apologise to Jewish community over Labour anti-semitism

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