Broadband business owner says his company would be "wiped out overnight" by Labour

19 November 2019, 20:16

A broadband entrepreneur told Labour MP Lucy Powell "you will wipe out tens of thousands of jobs overnight by nationalising Openreach".

Tony from Bristol told LBC'S Eddie Mair he has spent the last 15 years building a business in the telecoms industry particularly based on broadband.

During an election call with Labour MP Lucy Powell, Tony asked how he and his team "would be compensated for the loss of livelihood by taking Openreach back into public ownership."

He said Labour's plans to nationalise superfast broadband would be put him out of business as an independent broadband supplier.

MP Lucy Powell responded by saying "negotiations and discussions need to be had" with companies like Tony's. She maintained that businesses like his would still be needed to provided services, only "his customer would become the government" rather than private businesses.

Eddie Mair's Election Call with MP Lucy Powell
Eddie Mair's Election Call with MP Lucy Powell. Picture: LBC

LBC's Eddie Mair interjected and asked: "So he [Tony] needn't worry?"

Ms Powell said: "Well I hope he needn't worry."

But Tony responded by saing: "My business will be wiped out overnight".

He went on to say: "If you nationalise it all, I don't get paid. If you give free broadband, the my company will make no money. And it will go out of business. Simple as that."

He called Labour's plans "ludicrous" and also said: "I look at the Labour party and I don't trust you to run your own party, let alone the companies you're going to take into nationalisation."

Ms Powell said: "The point is about having a free end point....we're talking about making an investment into a much needed piece of infrastructure."

But Tony was not convinced and concluded: "You fundamentally don't understand how the industry works and how broadband is provided and you will wipe out tens of thousands of jobs overnight by nationalising Openreach".

Watch the full exchange in the video at the top of the page.