Tories challenge BT and BBC as part of ‘100MB broadband’ pledge


If elected, The Conservatives are promising to deliver super-fast 100mb broadband by 2017, challenging both BT and BBC in the process. The party said it is confident that the UK Kingdom can become the first major European country to have internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second by 2017.

The Conservatives have said they intend to break up what they described as British Telecom’s monopoly on providing internet connections, if they win this year’s General Election. Private investors from companies such as Carphone Warehouse and Sky would be given permission to use BT cables to provide the service. And if the market did not deliver, then a Tory government would extend the 3.5 per cent levy on the BBC license fee, currently being used for digital switchover, to pay for broadband expansion.


The Tories say they will end BT's "local loop monopoly" and allow other operators to move in with their own ducts and fibre cables, an approach that has proved successful in countries such as Singapore and South Korea.

The party believes that using "market-based solutions” and allowing private investors to pay for better cabling would encourage competition.

It’s an approach that approach that has already proved successful in countries such as Singapore and South Korea.

Reacting to the announcement, Labour accused the Tories of “playing catch-up” adding that the proposal to tax the BBC would benefit Rupert Murdoch's BskyB and Carphone Warehouse.

Meanwhile, Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat culture, media and sport spokesman, questioned how the party would fund the policy. "Anyone can promise the earth – what matters is how you pay for it. All independent research shows that the market simply cannot provide high speed broadband in all parts of the country in the short term without investment.”

A spokesman for BT added: "The UK boasts one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world with BT having a 25 per cent market share.

"Ninety nine per cent of homes can access copper broadband, prices are low and close to 20 million homes are already enjoying services.”

Meanwhile, part of the BBC licence fee could be used to drive the broadband project.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne added that if the market failed to deliver, then 3.5% of the licence fee could be diverted to pay for broadband expansion.

The sum, estimated at between 750m and £1bn on the basis of 25m TV licences, is currently being used to pay for the digital switchover.

"I think the best way to deliver this is by breaking up the British Telecom monopoly at the moment, which holds back companies such as Carphone Warehouse or Virgin," Osborne told the Guardian.

"If we find the market can't do that, then use the BBC licence fee, the digital switch over money in the BBC licence fee, to get Broadband out to the rest of the country.”

<< Back to today’s Digital Intelligence news

Copyright ©2000-2019 Digital Strategy Consulting Limited | All rights reserved | This material is for your personal use only | Using this site constitutes acceptance of our user agreement and privacy policy