Jeremy Corbyn has addressed the annual Labour Conference in Liverpool and in a lengthy speech outlined a great many things that Labour would do when elected as the next Government and even suggesting that the party needs to ready for a snap General Election as early as 2017. After recent comments from Jeremy Corbyn it should be no surprise to find that broadband gets a mention at 33 minutes and 20 seconds into the speech.
"I am not content with accepting second-class broadband, not content with creaking railways, not content with seeing the US and Germany investing in cutting edge and green technologies, while Britain lags behind.
Last year, for example the Prime Minister promised a universal service obligation for ten megabyte broadband.
But since then the government has done nothing letting down entrepreneurs, businesses and families, especially in rural areas.
That’s why we’ve set out proposals for a National Investment Bank with £500 billion of investment to bring our broadband, our railways, our housing and our energy infrastructure up to scratch.
A country that doesn’t invest is a country that has given up. That has taken the path of managed decline. A Labour government will never accept second best for Britain."Extract from speech covering broadband in the UK
Unfortunately the speech writers got their Mega Bytes and Mega bits mixed up, the proposed Universal Service Obligation is set at a 10 Mega bit per second (Mbps) minimum, and while so many reading auto-cue do mix units things one does expect better in 2016 (we cross checked the audio with the written speech and it did state Mega Bytes - for future speech writers 1 Mega Byte equals 8 Mega bits and broadband is sold in Mega bits per second).
The Government are unlikely to be quaking over the accusation of doing nothing with the USO, because the small matter of how it works and its passage through the House of Commons and House of Lords to make it a law take time and are underway. Inconsequential matters like who the obligation falls upon and who pays for it need to thrashed out.
Hopefully as Labour fleshes out its Manifesto for the next election the proposals for broadband will get fleshed out and people will know what to expect from the policy rather than rousing speeches. Plenty of people already feel they have been had by the existing broadband improvement projects delivering since 2010 when speeches were sometimes vague and open to misinterpretation and the realities of what a target averaged over the area of a county actually means.