Both the Green Party and the SNP are calling for everyone across the UK to have equal access to broadband services.
In the run up to the general election, both parties call for a USO (Universal Service Obligation) to be enforced, making sure folks and firms across the UK can order the same services.
The Green Party in particular calls for BT and other ISPs to be forced to provide high-speed broadband services to every home and small business. The SNP also calls for extra investment to accelerate the rollout of superfast broadband and 4G reception across Scotland.
Related: Green Party wants to axe TV Licence – and replace it with a ringfenced taxScotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “Pushing for measures such as the early devolution of APD [Air Passenger Duty], an increase in infrastructure investment, a Universal Service Obligation for broadband and the inclusion of Scotland in Westminster’s HS2 plans will improve connectivity and remove barriers for businesses in remote and rural parts of the country.”
In terms of extending the availability of superfast broadband, all the Green Party manifesto has to say is: “[The Green Party will] Ensure that all have digital access and give BT and other public telecommunications providers an obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband infrastructure to every household and small business.
“This in particular will encourage video conferencing, helping to reduce both business and family travel.”
Sadly, neither party is really offering any details on how much money would be spent, where the money would come from or what sort of services voters could expect.
The Conservatives meanwhile promise to continue slicing money from the TV Licence pot in order to continue the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) programme. BDUK aims to make sure 98 per cent of all premises can get superfast broadband – defined by the UK Government as anything delivering 25Mbps or higher – by 2017.
Labour meanwhile has promised to ring fence the licence fee. While the Labour manifesto also calls for ‘high-speed’ broadband for all, it’s skimpy on the money details. Similarly, the Liberal Democrats want to see BDUK done and dusted, but pass on detailing how it’ll be paid for.
Despite this, every party mentioned here appears to be aware that the Internet exists and funding needs to be set aside for improving the UK’s infrastructure. Which is more than you can say for UKIP.