When the chips are down, who has your back? Have the comms sector’s guardians reacted adequately to Labour’s big threat? 

By Comms Dealer Editor Stuart Gilroy: Hats off to ITSPA for its unequivocal and fired-up retort to Labour’s British Broadband proposal. In a statement it did not mix words in expressing profound concern over the impact of Labour’s plan on the industry and customers, warning that it would ‘wreak havoc’, ‘threaten the competitive telecoms market’ and bring ‘huge upheaval’ to the sector and service providers. ISPA too hit the nail on the head, albeit with a slightly smaller hammer.

This is what you would expect from any comms sector trade body, to go near apoplectic over Labour’s proposed nationalisation of broadband provision, but others have shown themselves meek and mild in the face of provocation. There is a sense they are treading on egg shells. You would be forgiven for thinking that over polite responses to Labour’s broadband-grenade suggest just another day-to-day concern, rather than the potential destruction of the comms provider sector.

In sparing their blushes they shall remain anonymous, away from the spotlight as they wait in the wings, until the day they too take centre stage and blast full blown condemnation on this rotten ruse. 

Lacking mettle
One industry body’s official statement softened its opposing stance to Labour’s proposal with plaudits for its sentiment regarding the need for more full fibre in the ground, as though the grenade was lobbed from a sensible and charitable place. That labour’s proposal would not be a good move for the service provider sector appeared as a side thought rather than a primary point of contention.

Key industry bodies did not even issue an official response to the press. And the hottest comms sector talking point for decades is a taboo subject for Ofcom until some time after the election.

The hope must be that the Conservatives win the election. But as long as Labour pledges to spawn Broadband Britain, even if it loses the vote, the current uncertainty will continue for years to come. Future elections will see the comms sector wracked by anxiety, fearful of a Labour win. So now is the time to prepare for the worst and ask: When the chips are down, who’s got our back? 

To be heard and heeded in times of crisis, the industry requires a united alliance that speaks with one voice, led by a comms provider champion – sooner rather than later.

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