I pay about £17 a month for unlimited interweb at a consistent speed of 30MB – plenty for me, with Netflix, a couple of internet radios on all day and normal browsing. And neither a strand of copper or a whisper of fibre optic in sight – it’s all LTE 4G mobile, my router having a SIM card slot rather than an RJ11 socket. I don’t need 5G, and as I don’t own any sort of huge screen I don’t need faster speeds. I don’t even watch Netflix that much – last night, with the fire playing in the stove, I sank into the comfort of a Portillo rail journeys DVD, an early one, before he started to camp it up for his considerable gay fan club. I don’t think I’m untypical of the older internet user.
Clearly I think Labour’s £100bn nationalised internet offer was aimed at the young, but to my mind it’s mistaken on at least three levels. Firstly, is the UK seriously proposing to dig up all those streets and roads again to lay fibre into dwellings, rather than just into junction boxes which use copper for the final connection? Isn’t this a bit, erm, steampunk, when the entire sparsely populated alpine region of Europe gets 4G using mobile?
Secondly, an anyone who has ever compared internet tariffs will ask, what does ‘free’ and ‘fast’ mean? Is it 10MB speeds for up to 2GB a month? Or 67MB for unlimited use? You see, Mr Corbyn clearly doesn’t quite understand that demand for something free is pretty well infinite – which is why we have to ration free stuff like the NHS. And St Greta will not be pleased – the interweb already takes more than 10% of our power consumption.
Thirdly and most importantly, what sort of morons would vote to voluntarily hand control of their internet access to an overweening nanny government department? One journalist asked at Labour’s press conference yesterday whether national CorbynNet would ban porn – and got a weaselly answer about controls to prevent harm to users. That means censorship. Now the young generation I know uses stuff like Tor, bitstreaming, online gaming, the greyer bits of the web where we olduns never venture and, I am pretty sure, lots of porn. Everything in fact that Labour’s authoritarian illiberal nannies would want to ban. They’d have us all watching documentary films about cheese-making co-operatives.
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