Digital Britain: Operators to charge ‘broadband tax’

Market led investment won’t provide next-generation broadband services to everyone, so users will be taxed to make up the shortfall.

The government will charge a broadband tax' from 2010 to subsidise a next-generation broadband network, which should deliver at least 90 per cent coverage by 2017.

The final Digital Britain report, published yesterday, said that operators will charge 50p per month on fixed lines, which should raise 170 million to 175 million a year for a Next Generation Fund'.

The report concluded that competitive, market-led investment in fibre from companies like BT and Virgin Media would be able to provide up to a third of the country with next-generation broadband.

However, general industry consensus said that there would be up to a third of the country, both in homes and small-to-medium-sized businesses, that would not be served by the fixed telecoms market.

The report also said that next-generation mobile services would play an important role in developing an alternative means of connectivity, but that the investment needed to support mobile next-generation' bandwidths to a third of the country would be uneconomical.

The government excused the tax by saying that telecoms prices had fallen significantly and steadily in real terms over many years, compared to other utilities and media services. It said on a wholesale level, the UK had the second cheapest prices in Europe for broadband only DSL.

However, the Internet Service Provider's Association (ISPA) was critical, saying in a statement: "In effect, customers and the ISP industry are being penalised for successfully bringing prices down."

The government also reiterated its Universal Service Commitment to bring 2Mbps minimum broadband connections to every line in Britain.

It said that 11 per cent of all lines were currently unable to offer it. The government added that public funding would be used as it wanted "virtually everyone to experience the benefits of broadband, including the increasing delivery of public services online."

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Most Popular

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021