Sunday, 31 January 2010

Broadband and the Conservative Party

According to the BBC, the Conservatives are looking to install 100Mbps broadband in most homes by 2017, and fund this for rural areas where it may not be profitable to supply by the licence fee.

Internet is good, broadband even better. It has revolutionised the way we work. That is the reason it has spread - it has huge benefits that outweigh the costs. In fact, some people pay for high-speed broadband to be wired to their house, at a cost of several thousand, to make their houses worth more (according to the Economist, I think). That's the market at work - and it's done the job well, and is still doing the job well.

The first issue to grasp is why rural areas don't have broadband - not profitable to supply. That's fair enough - if you live in a rural area, that's a choice you make - you tend to be rich enough to choose to, so the government shouldn't be subsidising your broadband. Rural area or broadband, that's the choice.

It's not government's place to be involved in broadband, TV, etc - simply because of all the old arguments about not knowing individuals' needs. Sell it all off, that includes the BBC and Channel 4, abolish the licence fee, etc. No need for the government to own it. And not only that, but if we allow government to pay for the broadband (even if it is with our own money), we hold ourselves open to government saying they should be able to control what goes down those cables.

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