The Prime Minister’s 2019 Tory manifesto pledged to bring ‘full fiber and gigabit broadband’ to every UK home and business by 2025 – but within months he quietly scrapped the plans .
Image: Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson has been accused of abandoning his promise to boost broadband for millions of Britons – as providers plot the biggest price hike in 30 years.
The Prime Minister’s 2019 Conservative manifesto pledged to bring “full fiber and gigabit broadband” to every home and business in the UK by 2025.
But within months it quietly dropped the plans, replacing them with a promise to provide “a minimum of 85%” of homes with gigabit broadband by that date.
Now, new research by the Liberal Democrats claims the Tory leader is not even delivering on his watered-down promise.
Only one in eight constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales has 85% or more
gigabit broadband coverage by 2022, according to analysis of House of Commons Library data.
Meanwhile, in one in six regions, less than 10% of households can access gigabit broadband, while no major nation or region in the UK has yet reached the 85% target.
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The areas with the lowest proportion of households with gigabit broadband are Blackpool South (0.8%), Poole (0.9%), Luton North (1%), Hazel Grove (1.1%) and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (1.6%) .
Lib Dems leader Ed Davey said: ‘The government is behind on its promise to increase speeds across the country.
“Millions of people are stuck in the slow digital lane and are paying through their noses for uneven broadband
“Once again Boris Johnson is breaking promises and taking people for granted.
“Thousands of homes in forgotten rural communities can’t even get minimum speeds, mocking Conservative promises to level the country.”
It comes as the cost of broadband is set to skyrocket in April, with many major providers such as Vodafone, Plusnet and EE announcing that their prices will rise by 9.3% in line with CPI inflation of 5.4. % in December – the biggest increase in almost 30 years.
Mr Davey said: “This pandemic has shown how vital broadband access is to learning, working and staying connected. But families are only months away from seeing crippling increases in their broadband bills, on top of tax raids and soaring energy prices.
“Ministers must give families a lifeline, including through cheaper broadband bills, instead of sitting idly by as the cost of living crisis rages.”