The Liberal Democrats have pledged to bring high-speed broadband to 99.9 per cent of UK premises.
While details on exact plans are sketchy, this amounts to a pledge to see BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK), the upgrade scheme started by the Lib Dem’s Coalition partners, seen through to the end.
BDUK currently aims to see 95 per cent of UK premises able to order superfast broadband – defined by the UK Government as 25Mbps and above and by Ofcom as 30Mbps and above – by 2017. By 2018, this coverage figure should have expanded to 99 per cent.
It’s not clear from the manifesto how this will be funded, in the highly unlikely event that the Liberal Democrats won the election, or got to form a government (again) with another party.
The Conservatives have said that the BBC’s licence fee earnings will continue to be sliced to the tune of £150 million to finish off they work BDUK started. Labour has promised to ringfence the licence fee in its manifesto, ruling that out as a source of funding for superfast broadband projects.
The Green Party is calling for 100 per cent superfast coverage, but don’t detail how this will be funded, while at the same time calling for the replacement of the TV Licence with a non-regressive tax. UKIP, meanwhile, is virtually silent on BDUK.
As well as throwing its hat into the pro-broadband investment ring, the Lib Dems also moot the idea of a Digital Bill of Rights, to safeguard the privacy of UK citizens. Again, details are scarce right now, but considering Nick Clegg’s consistent opposition to the Communications Data Bill, blanket retention of subscriber’s data would likely be off the cards, but the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act would probably retained, if not amended slightly.
You can check your current broadband speed, to see if you’re already in the glorious UK broadband future, with our broadband speed test tool.