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back to article Unused phone lines to be taxed for rural broadband

Unused landlines will be taxed under government plans to subsidise rural broadband, and VAT will be charged on the new 50p per month tax. "The duty will be payable on all local loops that are made available for use by an owner whether or not the lines are actually used," the Treasury said today. "It will also be payable on all …

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Unhappy

Unfair tax

My Grandma's going to struggle to see why she should pay a broadband tax because she uses a phone.

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Unfair? Not at all.

Everything in the PBR was fair. Alistair Darling said it was. Over and over. And over again. To the point that I thought he had shouted "FAIR!!" into the Grand Canyon, and I was just hearing the echo every few seconds.

I struggle to see why I should pay a broadband tax on my phone line when it's patently an empty political gesture from an idiot. Raise £175m? For a requirement of £5bn*? That'd be about 0.35% of the requirement then? Yeah, big help.

*remember that £5bn is a BT quote, which undoubtedly includes the expense of the directors' lunches for the next 5 years...

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You can be sure BT will be all over this

As soon as you move house and cancel the line, the wire gets physically removed in some way - cut, pulled, gouged, whatever.

And then the next day the new owner/tenant wants a phone line (solely for ADSL broadband because cable isn't available, natch)....

BT: "That'll be £120 for fitting a new line please sir!"

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@zedee

> BT: "That'll be £120 for fitting a new line please sir!"

They already do that trick. Tried it on me when I moved into the new place last month.

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Already the case...

BT charge you regardless of whether or not there is BT copper going into the premises. Brilliant huh.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Its not just a 50p per month charge though

I'm betting HM Gov will nick another 17.5% on top as well.

Another stealth tax.

Ok Mr Darling. When is 50p not 50p?

Come on now give us a straight answer.

I forgot that politicians of all types get a lobotomy that stop them from answering straight questions.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Its not just a 50p per month charge though

"I'm betting HM Gov will nick another 17.5% on top as well.

Please see the first sentence of the article. Thanks,

- Chris

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Taxing

So it's tax on the tax. How splendid.

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Flame

Why Surprised?

They already pull the "tax on tax" scam on fuel - VAT being levied on the price per litre including fuel duty.

You have to admit they are as consistent as they are unfair.

On market1 we already pay inflated adsl costs for lower caps/slower speeds... so where exactly is the "social justice" in this?

It stinks.

The BBC today carried an article about how we are so far down the league in terms of speeds. BT were cited as saying they are rolling out faster services.. and indeed they are.. in areas that already have faster services from cable and LLU. I expect no better from the incompetents we have running this sorry island, We are forced top pay more to wait while the services are further improved for those who already have better than we can get.

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FAIL

So let me get this straight..

I have VM TV/phone/broadband that I will receive one levy on... fair enough.

However my house also has a BT line from the pole to the outside wall that has never been connected in the years that I have lived there (previous owner had NTL and I transfered NTL when I moved) .

So I will be charged an additional levy for a line that I have never received any benefit from and never had a contract for?

Good luck with billing that one BT.

if all else fails I'll be up a ladder with wire cutters.

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Anonymous Coward

no it bloody isn't fair!!

Virgin/NTL/C&W have rolled out a fibre network of their own...BT are stuck in the dark ages...How the HELL is it fair that one companys customers pays for the products of another company?

It exactly the same as being charged 50p per copy of windows that goes straight to Apple. Makes no sense and is yet another step towards total communism in the UK.

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Headmaster

RTFA

If you actually read the article, rather than just the headline, you'd realise that this is going to be applied to all lines which are connected and usable, not just physically there.

The headline refers to lines which aren't actually used for voice calls, but that could be used if the customer chose to.

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Unhappy

Meanwhile

in the US of A, AT&T is spending my money running expensively produced ads trying to persuade me that they are doing a great job rolling out high speed internet connections and the government doesn't need to get involved.

Posted (slowly) from my expensive, highest speed available, AT&T, 768 kbit connection.

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FAIL

The real question

The real question is, why not change the law so that broadband Internet never becomes a necessity in the first place?

At the moment, it's not illegal for suppliers to charge non-Internet-connected customers higher prices. Banning shonky practices such as this might help even things up a bit.

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FAIL

Staff Packages

I'm on a Virgin Media staff package. Does anyone know if this will affect me?

Also my grandparents can't even spell internets, so why should they pay for country folk to get internet?

50p a month to help fund the new farming websites?

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WTF?

If you work for Virgin Media ...

... you should pay double.

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WTF?

God help VM

Did you read the article, it said "ANY" connected line.

Considering BT wants to go to an all IP network in the nearish future, then the internet upgrades are going to be needed anyway to cover the IP traffic and allow room for further lines, which will likely happen as more people live alone or take up the daft "quiverful" idea (have 18+ kids to please god....*rolls eyes*)

Frankly with attitudes like that, I'd bill London dwellers £5 a month rather than 50p, which in London would be the cost of....half a pint of cheap beer?

You do realise there are more than farms outwith the cities don't you? We have these things called towns and villages which people commute from into the big dirty cities to work (usually because due some muppet with an MBA and a positive discrimination waiver, claiming the "connectivity was better"....the company shifted at vast cost into the city, meaning everyone has to drive stupid distances....green nation my arse)

The phone network should be FTTP/FTTH and run by a not for profit, similar to network rail, wont happen though as darth mandy and the rest have their golden payoffs from industry to keep in mind.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

I understand that goverment doesn't give a damn about their taxes being levied in a fair manner, but neverthelese; if it is beneficial for the community to contribute to broadband roll out, then all should contribute, they should not just find a group to place all the burden on.

(Unless it's MPs of course.)

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Virgin + BT

I wonder if I'll pay £1.00 + VAT? 50p for my Virgin cable plus 50p for my BT phone line. Since the tax is applied to the supplier, BT will tax me for my phone and Virgin will tax me as if I'm using skype or VOIP.

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They pushed ADSL on us all

And now they're taxing us for it. What a brilliant model. Tax all of us to help pay to get the network infrastructure in place so that the vast majority of the populace can access DSL and then tax them when it's done.

A win/win situation for them.

If Labour remains in power within 5 years the 50p a month tax will turn into £3 and so on. Then one day we'll wake and realize that our broadband tax is equal to our TV license - and at least with that we sometimes get decent telly from the Beeb.

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Anonymous Coward

In five years?

If those twats win NEXT year I'll be emigrating!

Its a shame all the intelligent Brits don't feel the same way, as several hundred thousand of us all beginning the process of jumping ship should stuff them a treat. If the nightmare continues.

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FAIL

Actually...

We're taxed on our earnings which we use to pay our phone rental bills with, which have VAT on them already.

So this broad band tax is a tax on a tax on a tax on a tax and just shows what a shower of gibbering idiots nu labour are.

We don't have a system of direct taxation here in as much as tax doesn't go directly to fund the things its raised against- eg road tax, fuel duties etc aren't allocated to maintaining our roads, so this will just contribute a paltry sum to the treasury quaffers in the long run.

We can't afford to make this free but we can afford to contribute £500m a year (highest in Europe) to 3rd world climate change measures, most of which will probably get diverted into PLC's doing the work out there and not make much of a difference anyway. Awesome. If I could afford a hat (which I can' thanks to this government, and if I could they'd probably introduce a Hat tax just to spite me), I'd take it off to this bunch of incompetent nincompoops.

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Anonymous Coward

Bog standard government stupidity

This is going to cause massive destruction of infrastructure to simply get around a stupid earmark tax. Because as soon as you cut the line it ceases to exist for taxing purposes, not so?

What they really should be doing is pour all taxes on one big heap, then spend it on immediate needs like education, defence, paying off bonds, and _then_ subsidising extra stuff. Or lowering taxes or potting up a bit or what-have-you. Given a total balance sheet of billions this dicking around for a few hundred million over a decade is plain silly and bad budgeting practices thrown in for good measure. Carry on government.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like a good reason to get Mobile Broadband

maybe this is a cunning plan to get everyone to adopt mobile broadand to avaid the tax?

Just a thought.

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Paris Hilton

except..

It's mind-blowingly slow and costs a fortune, and data caps are amazingly parsimonious. Maybe if your network use is limited to facebook, it's adequate, but you only need to watch a few shows via iPlayer or buy a game on steam to come a cropper with "mobile broadband".

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FAIL

retards

the Gov get worse everyday! They increase the tax on everything and expect everyone who is struggling through the recession to be happy : "oh Vat is back up, oh my shopping costs more, my fuel costs more, things i enjoy like going to the pub costs more, oh ive been made redundant, oh now im being charged more on my phone, etc etc etc". they are idiots! they also think the min wage is a livable wage, yet when people go no it isn't they then fork out for benefits. instead of raising the wage, thus giving people a better quality of life, increasing public spending while decreasing government outgoings!

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Unhappy

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"The Treasury said it expects to collect £175m per year"

That's (yet) another £175m being taken out of the economy then. No wonder so many businesses are going bust.

Roll on the General Election.

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WTF?

Meh!

I live on a remote Scottish island and I pay £23 p/m for a 512kb/s connection with Scotnet

I don't use Bt for calls, I use 18866.com.

Bt rip me off for not having direct debit even though I pay online, Ofcom did nothing about that.

The line rental alone is about £45p/q.

I do not have any other choice of provider at this exchange.

Now I have to pay even more.

Maybe this will encourage more people to go off grid so that the greedy politicians and their corporate buddies can get away with even more.

If some Afghan phone company would sell me line rental at £5p/m I'd go for it.

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How?

"Premises with more than one line will have to pay the tax on each. However, for Virgin media customers, where a "line" consists of a co-axial line for internet access and a copper wire for phone, only one levy will be applied."

How? I'm with VM so my TV, internet and phone all use the cable line, so there's 50p right there. But I also have a physical BT line to the house; a little box with BT written on, wires hanging between my house and the pole in the street etc. but I don't have any kind of contract with BT.

When they say 50p per 'line', I'm guessing they mean one that actually has traffic going through it, rather than just the infrastructure. If not, colour me indignant.

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Change of definition?

Doesn't VAT stand for Value Added Tax? Where is the value added in a 50p charge, so why should we pay VAT on it?

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WTF?

The UK Needs a Libertarian Party

When the rural broadband rollout is completed in 2017 with the tax be repealed? Probably not.

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Anonymous Coward

Common sense is confused.

An example, I use VM for phone and broadband = 1 line that will attract the tax.

My house is also wired for a BT phone-line and always has been since new. It has never been used. Will this also attract the tax?

If so, I won't pay any BT 'tax' bill until the date is set for the court hearing. I suspect millions of others would do exactly the same. It will be the poll-tax all over again.

(Prats rioting in London did not stop the poll-tax, millions of decent people threatening to clog up the courts did.)

Then again, i'm just as likely to rip out the BT line as far as my property boundary.

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Anonymous Coward

Poll Tax

Yeah. Remember Willie Whitelaw saying (essentially) that the way to get the Poll Tax repealed was not to disobey it but to protest at the ballot box (i.e. pay it but write to your MP! ROTFFL!)? Priceless!

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Grenade

RTFA!

If you have a BT line which is ACTIVE you pay 50p tax

If you have a Virgin line which is ACTIVe you pay 50p tax

So if you have a cable from the BT pole to your house and even have a BT master socket in your house but do not have a BT account or telephone line you DO NOT pay 50p Tax

FFS people, this tax is wrong, will gradually increase over time, will continue forever (whoever is in power) and is unfair but please let's get our facts right, if you have TWO ACTIVE (i.e. you could make / receive calls on them if you chose to) telephone lines then you will pay the tax twice. if you only have 1 ACTIVE telephone line (regardless of who supplies it) you will only pay the tax once!

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Grenade

Wtf?

A tax on tax?!?

I bet the civil service fuckwad who came up with that one thought he was really clever.

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WTF?

Truly dumb.

How the heck is a tax on facilities going to encourage the construction of facilities.

Like ZEDEE said, it will encourage the ripping out of perfectly good copper.

D'OH!

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"...and VAT will be charged..."

An interesting mutation of VAT, which is chargeable at the time of supply.

What exactly is to be supplied to whom and when?

The Treasury would need to define a new type of supply, something like "goods or services promised by Local or Central Government to be supplied at some undefined future time and which may not be supplied at any time but for which payment is required by statute".

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tax tax tax

how much more do us brits have to pay on tax. council tax broadband tax tax this tax that this clearly shows its labours ploy to get winnings in the general election sorry but you cant bribe me gordon brown im voting conservative mate i dont care if the conservatives do scrap the broadband tax im sure they will find a replacment for it its not that hard

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Anonymous Coward

tax tax tax ....

At least you will be exempt from the punctuation and grammar taxes.

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Quid pro quo

I'll accept this as long as we can tax all the countryside dwellers £50 per month to pay for the installation of trees and a nice view on my rundown urban street. Maybe a few sheep making pleasant Baaing too. Fair's fair, end the pastoral divide.

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Happy

Every cloud

I wonder if I can use this to finally persuade my mum to move to one of BT's low income packages, which she blatantly SHOULD be on but isn't because well "I don't like change I'm happy as I am thank you!" >:-(

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Unhappy

A Tax On A Tax??

What next, VAT on income tax as well? How about VAT ontop of the VAT we already pay??

"So, thats 25 pounds, plus 17.5% VAT, plus another 17.5% VAVAT..."

This government wont be happy until the working half of society are paying 110% tax to fund their expenses and their efforts at worldwide policing, social care etc.

This comes from a taxpayer of 20 years who just recently got told "we will pay your stamp and thats it".

Happy jobhunting.

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I left the sticks

So I could have access to things quicker (although at the time my 300/300 modem was as much use there as anywhere).

I don't see why broadband provision to the provinces needs to be a priority.

When I was gthere I would have liked a bus service but I didn't expect all car users to have yet another tax to provide me with one.

If I was to move back to more bucolic surroundings I'd expect to have to give up some of the conveniences of city living or to pay more for them.

This scheme would only make sense to me if it was propsed by a load of city-dwelling types who felt they needed better services in their weekend country retreats.

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Anonymous Coward

I live in the sticks

And I agree with you 100%.

I'd agree more but unlike the Chancellor I know a bit of maths.

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WTF?

wtf?

We use cable for data only.

A BT copper line is "made abvailable" but we don't use it, nor pay line rental on it to anyone.

We use VOIP over the cable for our geographic home phone number.

From this, and section 3.3 and 3.6, it would seem that we need to pay the tax twice, once for the cable internet, and once for the BT line that's redundant. I wonder if we can request BT to remove the line from the local junction box.

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WTF?

Don't panic!

Do you have a BT telephone line? No? Then you wont pay tax on it will you. If you had a BT telephone line (and account) you would pay tax on it (even if you never, ever use it or plug a telephone into it)

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Flame

How can this be justified?

I resent paying a commercial company a tax to upgrade infrastructure that isn't even going to be owned by the taxpayer, that they will then further charge me for the privelege to use!

I sincerely hope that not only are this lot given the biggest booting in history, but are, one by one, led into an office with a bottle of whisky and a revolver and locked in there till they do the decent thing - now that's a levy I won't mind paying!

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Anonymous Coward

@@a

CHEAP whisky though, eh!

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Nicholas Negroponte's prediction gets a boost

He said, in the 90s, that everything you get on wires will go wireless, and everything you got wirelessly would come on a wire. Apart from satellite TV, it's coming true. 6 quid a year? Get over it.

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This is actually pretty smart.

Oh shut up about hating taxes. Sure no one likes to pay them, but they just like the services provided using these funds.

This is actually a good thing because its not like BT is going to pay a tax (which gets passed on to the consumer) but also broadband and cellular too. All of telco is taking a hit which means its a smaller increment on you.

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