ISPA who represent 200 members across UK Internet industry from the largest to the smallest has issued a press comment in response to the Labour manifesto.
The entire telecoms sector has repeatedly raised strong concerns about the deep flaws in Labour’s proposal. The proposal is expected to disrupt current rollout plans, prevent families and businesses from accessing gigabit broadband for years on end and threaten thousands of ISPs who sell products and services through UK broadband infrastructure and the tens of thousands of people they employ.
Broadband is fundamentally different to rail, electricity and water. Rollout is largely privately funded and we have a vibrant and innovative market with hundreds of SMEs competing with each other, offering real choice to consumers. There is a real risk that Labour’s plans jeopardise thousands of jobs and the future of small and medium sized businesses in the sector. Any plan to fundamentally change the telecoms sector should be done on the basis of a proper understanding of the market and through constructive discussions with the industry.
We invite Jeremy Corbyn and his team to directly engage with the small, medium and large businesses that make up the ISP industry so that they can understand the impact that Labour’s plans would have on jobs, investment and existing rollout plans.
ISPA Chair Andrew Glover commented
The notes sent out with the comment also cover off the size of the industry:
“There are over 7000 businesses who are part of the telecoms value chain in the UK who would be affected by these plans, and there are approximately 180,000 people employed in the UK telecoms sector, of which about 83,000 are employed by BT and Openreach. This means there are potentially over 100,000 jobs who would be affected by these plans.”
The number at risk is a massive unknown as it is not clear how many roles in BT Enterprise and BT Consumer would be used in the nationalisation and once the initial roll-out is complete the figures from the manifesto suggest a massive downsizing in the work force.
While some providers may be able to continue by virtue of offering services such as email, TV channels and voice calls but once the core customer relationship is lost it is very likely a large proportion of the public will seek free alternatives for these services, ironically driving more people to using services ran by the large international tech firms and not UK based ones.