A new national tax is to be levied onto all fixed telephone lines in the country to help pay for the the universal roll out of next generation broadband across the UK it was announced in the Digital Britain Report yesterday.
A charge of £6 per year, or 50p per month, is to be charged to every fixed line telephone and will raise funds of up to £175 million per year that will then be used to subsidise the cost of extending next generation fibre broadband Internet access to the areas of the country where it is not currently planned to be rolled out to as it is not financially viable for the broadband providers to pay for this themselves. There is currently around 30% of the country that will benefit from this investment that live in rural areas that would be missed out from receiving fibre broadband initially.
This is going to be a yearly charge and it is expected that by 2017 all areas will have next generation fibre broadband installed and available to them.
The report also confirmed the government want a minimum 2Mb broadband across the country for everyone by 2012 which is what we have been under the impression would have been announced. This is to be funded in a number of different ways which includes using the £200 million surplus left over from the Digital Switch Over Help Scheme.
The full 245 page Digital Britain final report can be read at www.culture.gov.uk