The TalkTalk chief executive, Charles Dunstone has estimated that around 100,000 lower income homes in the UK will have to give up their Internet connections due to the 50p per month/£6 per year broadband tax.
The broadband tax was proposed in the Digital Britain report earlier this year and due to last for 7 years with the aim of raising £1 billion to help with the investment of high speed fibre networks across the UK.
He also complained that private investors will also wait for the public handouts of money to invest in the fibre broadband networks in more rural areas as apposed to funding the development themselves.
Stephen Timms, the treasury minister is going to include this tax in this years finance bill meaning there is a good chance that it will be made legal before the next general election. The conservatives are hugely against the plans for the broadband tax, and with the Torries the favourite to come into power at the next general election it may be too late for them to get the plans scrapped.
The Shadow Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that if the Torries get in then they would scrap plans for the 50p per month “broadband tax” that is set to be charged to all land line telephones.
The £6 per year tax is to help fund next-generation fibre broadband in the UK but many believe that the £175 million it would raise per year is no way near enough.
If Labour do manage to rush through with their plans for the broadband tax that were detailed in the Digital Britain Report before the next general election (that the Conservative Party are favourite to win) then it would make it more difficult for the Tories to have this proposal stopped.
Britain has come dragging it’s heels into either 25th or 31st place depending on how the results are taken for broadband in the world, with countries like Latvia, Lithuania and Romania all coming higher up the list than us.
The results from the survey that was done by Oxford University and sponsored by Cisco said that the broadband in the UK only meets the needs for today and not for the future.
The difference between South Korea who top the league and the UK is that while we have our Digital Britain report that said that there should be a minimum universal broadband speed in the UK of 2Mb by 2012 the South Korean government has promised a universal speed of up to 1Gb by 2012!
The “Broadband Quality Score” was worked out by combining the download speed, upload speed and the latency.
Hopefully the investment in fibre broadband that BT are currently doing will bring us back more into contention with other countries round the world.
The average broadband speed achieved globally was 4.75Mb with an average upload speed of 1.3Mb, it is thought that in the future the average download speed will need to be 11.25Mb and an average upload speed of 5Mb to handle future applications such as high definition video.
The results for the study were taken from broadband speed test site speedtest.net.
The £6 “broadband tax” is set to be put through and made law before the next general election which will infuriate many who think that it would not get passed under a Conservative government (the favourites to win the next general election).
Stephen Timms who is the Treasury minister said that the £6 per year tax on phone lines should be made law in the next few months as it could be put forward in the Digital Economy Bill that is due to be put before the House in November or it could be part of the Finance Bill that would be presented after the budget.
The 50p per month charge on all telephone lines is expected to raise around £175 million per year and is to be used to help pay for next generation super fast fibre broadband even thought there are serious doubts that the money raised will come anywhere close to help fund it.
BT is to nearly double the number of people who are able to access it’s fast ADSL2+ copper network by spring 2011.
Currently the ADSL2+ technology which can deliver broadband speeds up to 24Mb is available to around 40% of homes and businesses and BT plan make it available to three quarters of the country.
Although many who’s broadband connection is slow currently won’t see their broadband speeds jump up to 24Mb (unlikely anyone will actually get this headline speed) they will however likely see a speed increase over what they are currently getting.
BT are also rolling out fibre broadband across the UK, and hope to have this available to 40% of the country by 2012 and will be able to offer broadband speeds of 40Mb with the FTTC technology. The fibre roll out is being done separately from the ADSL2+ installations.
The Digital Britain report released earlier this year said that everyone in the country should be within reach of 2Mb broadband and as it is not feasible for BT to fund the roll out of fibre broadband across the whole of the country the installation of ADSL2+ technology will mean that those who are currently receiving broadband but not at the 2Mb minimum target could well have this rectified with the installation of ADSL2+.
BT have also started trialling Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) that is designed to deliver broadband to broadband “not spot” areas (Read: BT to pilot technology that will deliver broadband to “not spot” areas) which again is likely to help in the aim of the governments Digital Britain report.
BT are going to pilot Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) that is designed to help deliver broadband to broadband “not spot” areas.
The technology is designed to make broadband available by a fixed line up to 12km (7.5 miles) away from the local telephone exchange and that are currently out of reach receiving broadband at the moment.
Stable 1Mb broadband speeds (speed test) have been achieved with lines that are between 7km and 12km and when the copper wire is bonded with another it means that the speed can increase to 2Mb.
2Mb broadband is the minimum target aim for the whole country that the government announced in it’s Digital Britain report earlier this year to be done by 2112.
Basically how the BET works is by using a dedicated copper line that is not shared meaning that the broadband signal can reach much further distances as the line is not being shared with others.
There are an estimated 160,000 “not spot” homes in the UK that are too far from their telephone exchange to be able to receive broadband, it is estimated that up to to 140,000 of these could benefit and be able to make use of the technology.
Initially there are 10 locations in that are having the Broadband Enabling Technology installed, these are:
- Twyford – Berkshire
- Badsey – Worcestershire
- Llanfyllin – Powys
- Leyland – Lancashire
- Ponteland – Northumberland
- Wigton – Cumbria
- Horsham – West Sussex
- Wymondham – Norfolk
- Inverness Culloden – Scotland
- Dingwall – Scotland
The pilot of BET is due to commence on 30th September and BT will be contacting customers who live in each area to invite them to sign up for it. Customers will need to pay for their broadband service with the broadband provider of their choice.
Lord Mandelson has asked for a meeting of the bosses of the five UK mobile networks (O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Three & Orange) in a meeting where he will try to “bang some heads together” to get the governments plan of accessible broadband for everyone in the UK by 2012 as described in the Digital Britain report.
The mobile operators play a part in this as they can offer mobile broadband to places of the UK where it is unfeasible to install a fixed line broadband connection.
However the problem lies with the 900MHz wireless spectrum which requires all the mobile networks to come to a deal over. Originally back in the 1980s, Vodafone and 02 who were the first mobile operators in the UK were granted the use of this but a deal over sharing it up needs to be done with the other mobile operators.
Once this is cleared up talk is likely to turn to the 800MHz spectrum that will become available in 2012 once the switch off from analogue to Digital TV takes place. The government will be selling off this which the mobile operators will all be very interested in as it will also be ideal for widespread rural mobile coverage.
The broadband tax that has been proposed in the Digital Britain report by Lord Carter, to be introduced to every fixed phone line in the UK may not get introduced.
The 50p per month/£6 per year levy is set to be put onto every fixed telephone line in the UK to help fund the roll out of next generation broadband (fibre broadband) services in the UK, the fees were set to raise around £150m a year.
The reason there is doubt as to if the levy will actually come to fruition is because the current communications minister who replaced Lord Carter, Stephen Timms, has said:
“If the question is, is the levy definitely going to be legislated for this side of the election, I can’t say for sure”
With the general election being next year and because the Conservatives who are against the levy are the favourites to replace Labour in government we could find that if the legislation for this has not gone through before the general election then it could well be dropped altogether.
BT think that the “broadband tax” to help fund next generation fibre broadband that is to be charged to all fixed telephone lines should be extended to also include mobile phone users.
The “Broadband Tax” as set out in the Digital Britain report means that a levy of 50p per month, £6 per year, is to be charged to every fixed telephone line that is expected to raise around £1.5 bn.
BT say that as it won’t only be fixed line broadband operators who will be able to bid for a share of the money and that the mobile operators will also be able to bid for some too.
Emma Gilthorpe, BT’s director of industry policy and regulation has said that “the government should consider the opportunity to widen the base for the tax and possibly reduce the amount that each individual household pays.” with regards to mobile operators looking to claim some of the money raised from the broadband tax.
The money raised is to fund the deployment of fibre broadband into areas of the country where it wouldn’t be feasible for broadband providers to fund the installation themselves.
BT is planning on installing it to 40% of the UK population at a speed of 40Mb, Virgin Media however already offer their fibre optic broadband service to 50% of the population and have a headline speed of 50Mb broadband.
The 50p per month levy to be placed on all fixed copper phones won’t be enough to give total coverage of the UK with fibre broadband according to BT.
The “broadband tax” is to be charged for all premises that have a fixed copper line and was announced in the recently published Digital Britain Report.
The director of strategy at BT, Liv Garfield, said that she thinks even with the levy that there will still be a proportion of the UK where the fibre broadband won’t reach to. She thinks that it will help them to achieve around 80%-85% coverage and that 100% coverage is impossible.
The 50p per month (£6 per year) levy will raise between £150m-£175m per year that will be put in to the pot to fund the roll out of the fibre optic network into the hard to reach and remote areas of the UK.
BT have already started the roll out of their new fibre optic network and expect that by March 2010 there to be 1.5 million premises who will be able to connect via the fibre network.