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£6 Broadband Tax Promised Before Election

Gordon Kelly


£6 Broadband Tax Promised Before Election

The Digital Britain Report has already stressed that the UK desperately needs to speed up the evolution of its broadband nationwide, both in terms of coverage and speed. So this shouldn't help...

The government has confirmed that it plans to win hearts and minds by charging a £6 per year 'broadband tax' which it hopes to introduce before the next general election. The 50p per month levy will apply to all UK phone lines and will raise between £150m and £175m per year which will be used to fund development of broadband networks over the next seven years.

The problem is the whole idea is moronic. Yes it is not a large amount of money, but in context neither is the amount raised. After all, BT said last September that the price to create a nationwide fibre optic broadband infrastructure (something Virgin already has with its cable network incidentally) was estimated at £28.8 billion. So what is £175m going to get you? Angry voters and one happy fibre optic village populated by speed freaks?!

Even more shambolic is that the Conservatives have said they aren't convinced by the tax and may well scrap it if/when they get into power (which is looking increasingly likely). This means the £6 tax setup costs could be completely wasted should the government change just a few months later. So all this is helping develop UK broadband how?!


via The Guardian


September 24, 2009, 4:08 am

Wow this government always amazes!

Don't they still have a lot of spectrum to sell off to mobile phone companies, surely that could pay for a nice new FiOS network...

Tim Sutton

September 24, 2009, 4:56 am

I know what they're planning.

£175 million over 7 years = £1.25 billion.

Divide that by the population of the UK (60 million) and its just over £20 each.

So every 7 years everyone in the UK gets given a month on Virgin cable! Job well done.


September 24, 2009, 6:22 am

funny thing is we are a tiny country and would be ideal to lay new fibre optics in,yet in my area new roads have been put in but nothing has been done at the same time,28 billion ? pah should have let northern rock go bust and spent the money on this.


September 24, 2009, 1:36 pm

Rather than worrying about fibre optic networks in the countryside, put the money into next generation mobile broadband....


September 24, 2009, 2:06 pm

"BT said last September that the price to create a nationwide fibre optic broadband infrastructure (something Virgin already has with its cable network incidentally) was estimated at £28.8 billion"

Market capitalisation of Virgin (Media) is £4.28 billion - £28.8 billion doesn't exactly seem like value for money if you can buy a ready made fibre network for that.

Tommy K

September 24, 2009, 3:42 pm

They are going to have to get some money from somewhere both the conservatives and Labour so I expect plenty more taxes such as this. Really were going to have to start getting charged for being able to view iplayer and as everything starts coming down the wire we mite even see a tax on the number of GB being dwld.

Expect it all no matter if its labour or conservative.


September 24, 2009, 4:17 pm

Wasn't that £28.8 billion figure partly predicated on the fact that they would need to dig up many roads to install the fibre optics cable? Wasn't a highly effective, efficient and cheap solution put into practice for early fibre optics network found, using the existing sewer systems for routing cables:


Seriously, unless our Government (whomever it may be next year) gets it's act together we will find ourselves part of the third world internet community before we even know it. Then we will ask ourselves why did it take so long to put into operation something that should have been done many years ago, i.e. fibre optic cabling. The hit we take now (important to emphasise this includes businesses not just putting the costs on customers alone) will be worth it for future successes of our industries, businesses, academic institutions and media.

Alan Edwards47c

September 24, 2009, 5:42 pm

I wouldn't mind paying this *after* the local infrastructure has been upgraded, but I don't see why I should pay BT to upgrade all the exchanges around me (Sale) to fibre so that it can compete with Virgin cable, leaving me on the same 3 mile long copper line and sub-1-meg almost-broadband because there's no alternative.


September 24, 2009, 7:09 pm

This kind of thing is typical of this government - introducing these half-cocked policies designed to appear as if they're being pro-active without actually achieving anything. See this latest missile submarine reduction debacle for another example...


September 24, 2009, 11:15 pm

Isn't the phone line on the way out anyway? With mobiles and Skype its already expensive to pay for a land line that doesn't get used. This tax could kill it off...

Perhaps the government are trying to get the mobile phone companies to contribute to their election campaign?


September 24, 2009, 11:34 pm

@Epic Virgin don't cover the anything like the whole country with their network and £28.8bn is also a scare tactic figure from BT. I agree that the tax is a total waste of time and will probably lead me to just having mobile broadband as in my area it's just as fast as wired.


September 25, 2009, 1:13 am

Virgin's cable network covers most high density metropolitan areas but is nowhere near as extensive as BT's copper network.


Why not make the existing infrastructure available to more ISPs and make Virgin a de facto BT Wholesale type provider? Then look at either providing fibre optic to the cabinet/home for those in economically worthwhile areas (popn density determined I suppose) who currently don't have cable and/or look to extending wireless provision in remoter areas? I agree it doesn't make sense to cable up absolutely everywhere. Provision should be based on which technologies work best in given areas taking into account cost/benefits per capita.

We do need investment, the internet is no small thing. There are so many ingenious ways to provide it it seems a shame the question of how we pay for it should be such a thorny issue (as ever it is when the public are expected to pay for something collectively good).

Liam 3

September 25, 2009, 3:04 pm

The funny thing is BT offered to do this at their own cost years ago. Still, it needs to be done, you can't leave it up to one commercial player (Virgin). People piss and moan about taxes too much, it not like the average broadband subscriber is going to miss 50p a month.. and you'll get fantastic broadband band for it quicker, easier, more widely available and ultimately cheaper that if it was left to Virgin Media. Indeed, Japan and Korea have both shown that the only way to get a widely available high-speed network is for the state to do it.


January 9, 2013, 11:47 am

the resolution is 4 times that of Full hd - not 1280 x 1024. The total number of pixels of '4k' is 1920 x 1080 X 4 = 3840 x 2160. Please correct, thanks.


January 9, 2013, 12:38 pm

I know this is correct, but 1920 and 1080 x 4 is 7680 and 4320 :P 4K is more FULL HD x2 if someone is not a new tech geek :>

Bruce Jefferies

January 12, 2013, 9:08 pm

No. 1920x1080 = a total of 2073600 pixes. 3840x2160 = a total of 8294400 pixes. 8294400 is four times as many as 2073600, hence 4 x FullHD. Imagine 4 separate 1080p displays arranged in a 2 x 2 grid, you would have a 4K display.

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