Clive Selley, managing director of BT’s infrastructure builder, Openreach, said: “Government can promote business growth and investment if it plans for the long term and sets the right incentives.
“We know that having a national fiber optic broadband network would increase labor productivity by almost £60billion a year, so we encourage the next Prime Minister to introduce a more permanent depreciation scheme. to encourage further investment in this critical digital infrastructure.
“The current program has been great for the UK, allowing us to expand and accelerate our full fiber broadband plans to 25 million premises by the end of 2026, including millions of homes in rural areas.”
There is no indication that Openreach would renege on its current commitments if its tax bill increases, but new investments from it and its rivals remain under discussion.
A source close to Ms Truss said a replacement would only be considered after she wins, adding the foreign secretary was ‘open to all options’ to increase investment. The low-tax investment zones proposed by Ms Truss “will sit alongside other trade measures that will be determined to replace the super-deduction”.
An ally of Mr Sunak said: “It’s great to see BT stressing the central importance of write-offs to business investment. These are central to Rishi’s plan, having introduced super-deduction.
“As Rishi pointed out in his lecture But, the Spring Statement and throughout this campaign, we need to double down on this approach instead of continuing with the failed orthodoxy of reducing the overall corporate tax rate. “
It comes as broadband builders grapple with inflationary forces, including a fiber optic cable shortage that would push cable prices up to 70%.
Meanwhile, BT’s dominance also faces the challenge of a new £4.5billion project backed by John Malone, a telecoms tycoon dubbed the “cable cowboy” by his biographer.