With the general election just around the corner, V3 has a rundown of the five major UK parties' technology-related policies as outlined in their manifestos.
Access to broadband and mobile networks featured prominently on most of the parties' agendas, particularly as access to the internet is being viewed increasingly as a right not a privilege.
Conservatives: As pioneers of a superfast broadband rollout initiative, it is unsurprising the Conservative Party manifesto (PDF) committed to continuing plans to see 95 percent broadband access by 2017. Public sector-owned spectrum will also be released for greater private-sector use if the Tories form the next government.
The party also promises to pursue the provision of ultrafast broadband to nearly all UK premises once it is practical to do so.
Mobile coverage will also be boosted under a Tory government. The party said that it would hold mobile operators to legally binding agreements it recently struck to ensure that 90 percent of the UK has voice and SMS coverage by 2017.
The party also outlined plans to ensure the development of 5G networks is given priority.
"We will ensure that Britain seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, playing a key role in defining industry standards," it said, although no specific detail on this topic was given.
Liberal Democrats: A Lib Dem government would progress with the current superfast broadband rollout, and the manifesto outlined a goal of reaching 99.9 percent coverage across the UK, with a focus on small businesses and rural areas.
However, the Lib Dem manifesto (PDF) did not say whether the party would revise the 2017 deadline for widespread broadband or how it would fund its continued rollout.
Unlike the Conservatives, the Lib Dems did not outline any ambitions to open up public-sector spectrum for the private sector or explore the development of 5G.
Labour: In comparison to the other parties, the Labour manifesto (PDF) lacks clarity on the issue of connectivity, simply promising to "ensure that all parts of the country benefit from affordable, high-speed broadband by the end of the parliament ".
"We will work with the industry and the regulator to maximise private sector investment and deliver the mobile infrastructure needed to extend coverage and reduce ‘not spots', including in areas of market failure," it adds.
However, there is no figure provided for what Labour classes as high-speed broadband or any specifics about working to "extend coverage" for mobile services or how it would be achieved.
Green Party: The Green Party manifesto (PDF) took a more business-focused approach to broadband connectivity, saying it would "give BT and other public telecommunications operators an obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband-capable infrastructure to every small business", to further support the UK's SMEs.
UKIP: The UK Independence Party seemed unconcerned with connectivity, with the party's manifesto neglecting to outline whether it would continue with the coalition government's superfast broadband rollout or create its own policies on UK internet access.
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