November 18, 2019

176. Free broadband – Corbyn’s bad connection

Jeremy Corbyn pledged over the weekend that, if he was to become Prime Minister, he would deliver free high-speed full-fibre broadband to everyone by 2030. To do it he would renationalise Open Reach, the network arm of BT. Is any of this a good idea? Phil Dobbie asks Steve Keen whether the government can deliver a solution any faster than the private sector. Surely subsidies are a better approach. And can’t something be learnt from the experience in Australia, where politicking has destroyed the country’s hope of having decent broadband anytime soon. Instead, they have something that’s slower and more expensive than what Britain already has. Even if the government was to manage the roll-out – does it really need to be free? And, if we pursued the principle of Modern Monetary Theory, isn’t there a danger that we’d see more schemes like this, without the fiscal rigour that you’d expect when access to funding is more restrictive?

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