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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 November 2019

The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

BT Openreach internet engineer at work, photo BT/Johnnie Pakington/CC

BT Openreach internet engineer at work, photo BT/Johnnie Pakington/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Clive Walder, former BT employee

I was really interested in your article on nationalising broadband. (See 'Broadband: privatisation has failed to deliver').

When I worked for BT, their internal email communications were peppered with references to needing 'matching funding' to provide broadband in unprofitable areas. From guess where? The government!

The fact that only 6% of the population in Britain have broadband cables leading directly to their home illustrates their penny pinching approach. The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, because they exist to make profit not to make people's lives easier.

Denied

Without public sector investment, there is a real danger of people in sparsely populated rural areas being denied goods, services and even jobs as the world becomes ever more wired up and broadband becomes the delivery method of choice for information and engaging with the wider world.

The tech giants talk as if broadband is new technology, but it isn't. Its potential was discovered as far back as the 1970s.

The Post Office Engineering Union - forerunner to the telecoms section of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) - passed policy calling for the nationwide rollout of broadband to allow remote medical diagnosis and examination and home-based education for the housebound in 1981! This never happened because it wasn't profitable.

Before Boris Johnson labels Jeremy Corbyn's policy of renationalising BT 'a crazy communist plot', he should read his history books.

A Tory government nationalised the infant telephone network in 1912. They saw no prospect of private companies at the time making the necessary investment to develop the network.

Billions of pounds of public funding created a successful and profitable company that was attractive to privateers.

The history of the relationship between the private sector and technology proves beyond doubt that they can never realise the full benefits of our vast technological potential. Only a publicly led, planned telecoms industry will.

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In The Socialist 27 November 2019:


What we think

Labour's manifesto: fight to transform hope into a socialist society

Tories launch 'non manifesto'


International socialist news and analysis

Regime's fuel price rise sparks massive protests across Iran

Sri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan


News

Tory election campaign's dirty tricks and lies

Resist attacks against free speech on campus

Northern Ireland: strike action by NHS workers

Prince Andrew outrage exposes establishment


Council cuts

End council cuts now, to end Tory austerity!


Workplace news

Uni strike takes fight to bosses

CWU's right to defend members is on the line

South Western Railway strike: "We're up for the fight"

PCS union ballot closes 12 December: Marion Lloyd for general secretary

Sixth-form college strikes: 'Sticking two fingers up at the Tories'

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Trump and Tories are a threat to environment

Brighton anti-academy campaign steps up

Posties withdraw goodwill from cruel bosses

Help fund the fightback: sponsor my marathon

Selling the Socialist

Buy a historical biography for Christmas


Readers' opinion

The private sector will never provide broadband to every home, nationalisation will

Plymouth Blairites side with anti-tenant landlords

Minimum wage debate


 

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Related links:

BT:

triangleBroadband: privatisation has failed to deliver, time for a socialist plan

triangleCommunication workers oppose second EU vote, and back new socialist 'Clause IV' for Labour

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleBT can afford more - reject pensions offer

triangleBT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

Nationalisation:

triangleLabour's manifesto: fight to transform hope into a socialist society

triangleHackney Socialist Party: How would socialist nationalisation work?

triangleNationalisation only way to safeguard jobs and skills at Wrightbus

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: The case for socialist nationalisation

Telecoms:

triangleTories may have broken election laws... again

triangleCWU telecoms oppose Openreach changes

triangleBuild the left in CWU elections

Government:

triangleThe Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019

triangleEnd profiteering from health - nationalise big pharma

Technology:

triangleIncompetent bosses use tech to bully us

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