Labour should adopt plans for 1Gbps broadband speeds and back net neutrality at both a UK and European level ahead of the general election in 2015, according to a group of party MPs Labour Digital.
The group made the bold claims in its Number One In Digital report, issued during the Labour Party's annual conference in Manchester. The focus on superfast broadband speeds is particularly notable.
“The UK should target nationwide access to 1Gbps broadband in homes, businesses and public buildings, with 10Gbps services for tech clusters, as early possible in the next parliament," it said.
“It is only through universal access to world-class internet facilities that the economic and social benefits of the digital economy can be captured by all citizens.”
This is far in advance of the current government's goals of providing 95 percent of the UK with speeds of 24Mbps or higher by 2017, with the rest having a minimum speed of 2Mbps.
The group also proposed the idea that the most disadvantaged citizens should get free internet access, funded from funds from any future spectrum auctions for 5G services. Another way it proposes boosting broadband take-up is by stopping BT charging for phone line access for those who just want broadband.
"The government should mandate BT to provide broadband services to homes without requiring a telephone line for voice calls," Labour said.
A promise to support net neutrality is another promise that the pressure group clearly believes may appeal to some technology advocates.
“With the European Parliament voting to adopt a net neutrality proposal that will restrict ISP charges for faster internet access, a Labour government should declare support for national and EU-level net neutrality.”
To protect citizens Labour should also introduce a 'Digital Magna Carta' that would enshrine certain rights in the internet era.
"Such a charter would ensure protections for the basic rights now associated with the internet and digital technology and an appropriate balance between national security and the public’s reasonable expectations of transparency and accountability," the report stated.
Labour Digital claims the introduction of its projects would cost a total of £10bn, but would deliver far more to the UK economy, justifying the investment.
V3 contacted the Labour Party for its reaction to the report, but had received no reply at the time of publication.
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