CWU Welcomes Budget Confirmation of Broadband Funding

The Communication Workers Union has welcomed confirmation in yesterday’s Budget of funding for next generation broadband. The telecoms union believes the 50 pence tax is the most equitable way of funding universal access but wants the government to look again at the role of mobile providers who will increasingly benefit from this innovation.

Andy Kerr, CWU deputy general secretary, said: “This is an historic step recognising the importance of broadband to the modern world and committing the necessary funding to ensure UK-wide rollout. Confirming the funding today means that hundreds of thousands of people who may have been left out of the broadband revolution can now look forward to equal access to superfast connections.

“This funding will maintain and create jobs in the broadband market. The inevitable investment in skills will ensure Britain is at the forefront of this expanding industry and we obviously welcome that with open arms.

“The 50 pence levy on households is the only credible way of ensuring that next generation rollout reaches the whole of the country, with an exemption for low income users. The Tories, by scrapping public funding and relying on the market, would leave gaping holes in a superfast network which would create a two-tier system at the mercy of market whims.

“We urge the government to look again at extending the funding contributions to mobile providers. These companies will benefit from Next Generation Access created by public funding so we believe they should contribute so they are not unfairly ‘piggy-backing’ on the existing network operators.”