1 in 5 UK residents state Broadband policy could affect how they vote

If you live in the UK it probably won't have escaped your notice that there's an election campaign underway. But could your broadband connection affect the way you vote?

According to a survey from broadband, TV and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk almost one in five (18 percent) of 2,500 people polled say that broadband policy could affect the way they vote.

Those surveyed also said they want a minimum broadband speed, on average, of 32Mbps - 600 times faster than the speed broadband providers are currently legally obligated to supply.

Dan Howdle editor-in-chief of Cable.co.uk says of the results,

"It's likely no coincidence that the one in five households in the UK that are yet to have superfast broadband deals made available to them matches proportionately to those who say broadband will affect the way they intend to vote.

So if the electorate really cares enough to vote based on broadband policy what are each of the main parties offering?

The Conservative Party says it will make ultrafast broadband - speeds of 100Mbps or more - available to, "nearly all UK premises as soon as practicable." The party's manifesto sets out a £100 billion investment in infrastructure, including broadband and mobile.

The Labour Party says it will deliver, "affordable, high speed broadband" to the whole of the UK by the end of the parliament. The party has also pledged to deliver the infrastructure needed to extend mobile coverage and reduce "not-spots."

The Liberal Democrats pledge to, "complete the rollout of high-speed broadband, to reach almost every household (99.9 per cent) in the UK".

Ukip doesn't mention broadband or mobile in its manifesto at all.

The Green Party says it will give internet service providers an, "obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband-capable infrastructure to every household and small business".

The Scottish National Party pledges to invest in superfast broadband, so that, "at least 95 percent of premises across Scotland will be able to access fibre broadband by the end of 2017".

The Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, says it will deliver 30Mbps broadband to the whole of Wales. The party also wants to ensure, "that mobile phone operators provide a better service in all parts of Wales".

So there you have it, five parties offering some form of better broadband and one not mentioning it at all - possibly because the Internet connects us to those abroad. Current Ofcom regulations set out a universal service obligation (USO) which states that communications providers need to provide, "data rates that are sufficient to permit internet access," meaning 'dial up' internet (56Kbps or less) is an acceptable minimum. However, the current government has pledged to raise the USO to 5mbps and ensure everyone has at least 2mbps by the end of 2016.

Howdle concludes, "Comparing broadband to the headline issues, it is ironic that while parties seek to connect with us on immigration, welfare and the deficit, those getting a raw deal on connection itself wield the power to swing this election".

Is broadband policy important enough to influence your vote?

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