The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has argued that Labour’s plans for free broadband could ‘slow down’ the progress of rural connectivity, according to Farming UK
Labour pledged in its manifesto to give every home and business in the UK free full-fibre broadband by 2030 as part of a £20bn plan. This would involve nationalising part of BT and taxing tech giants. The CLA has said that the plan could ‘collapse investment’.
The group's president Mark Bridgeman said: "Of course everyone likes things for free, but it is not clear how nationalisation will speed up the delivery of full broadband for everyone in the country.
“Under these plans, investment will collapse straight after the election and it will not begin again until the government is able to complete the nationalisation process.
“This could take many years and actually slow down progress, not speed it up.”
The group launched its Rural Powerhouse campaign last week, designed to unleash the potential of the rural economy.
Rural groups have said that an end to the rural and urban digital divide would support businesses to create jobs and enable people to access services.
For farmers, an improvement in connectivity would also allow the industry to embrace the technological revolution.