It may not be as important as the Digital Economy Act, but the first major impact of the Coalition government has been felt this week in the tech space after it decided to drop the UK broadband tax. Labour had pushed for a 50p per month tax to be collected from all UK citizens in order to help with the roll-out of high speed broadband in rural areas following the Digital Britain Report.
"I am happy to be able to abolish this new duty before it is even introduced," said culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. "Instead, we will support private broadband investment, including to rural areas, in part with funding from the Digital Switchover under-spend within the TV Licence Fee." Hunt added that despite dropping the tax his aim was to see Britain have the "best superfast broadband network in Europe".
Putting some meat on these bones, Hunt said one possible (and potentially sensible) route was making water, gas and electricity companies open up their ducts so fibre could be laid inside them. This would eliminate the need for the costly and slow process of digging up streets and roads. I'd suggest he should also look at H20's sewer broadband initiative.
That said, it isn't all good news since the budget has dictated an increase in VAT to 20 per cent from 4 January 2011 which will see broadband prices rise in any case. For example, a £10 bill would rise by 21p and if you're on Virgin's blazingly fast £28.99pm 50Mbit cable broadband service you'll actually be paying more than the broadband tax would have required in the first place.
So was Hunt right to drop it? In all honesty, I really don't care. The Digital Economy Act is the real plague on our society and the sooner this appalling piece of legislation is repealed the better.
Source: BBC News