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Now is the perfect time for Labour to reupload its free broadband pledge | Owen Jones

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January 08, 2021 at 11:01AM

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With the nation working and learning from home, the need for full-fibre broadband is greater than ever

Free full-fibre, publicly owned broadband was never supposed to be the flagship policy of Labour’s doomed 2019 election campaign. Earlier in the year the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had been touring the country and hearing people complain that poor broadband was at least as much of a problem as poor transport links, and possibly a bigger one. Back in 2017, a report by University College London had explored “universal basic services” – that is, where the rights of citizenship include unconditional access to free services funded by progressive taxation. “This would enable access to work opportunities,” the study noted, “as well as participation in our democracy as informed citizens.”

Related: Telecoms sector has ‘no belief’ UK will meet broadband targets, MPs find

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