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back to article MPs bash broadband tax

MPs have branded the proposed 50p per month "broadband tax" unfair, arguing the government should allow market forces to decide who gets faster broadband. The levy, due to be imposed on every landline telephone account, is intended to raise £175m per year to subsidise the rollout of next generation internet access to sparsely …

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Actually...

I really don't have a problem with this. It's 50p a month, the price of a can of coke or a chocolate bar. You're going to have to be living by a very strict budget to see the impact on your finances, and the potential benefits for the whole country could be huge. I wouldn't like to see it all go on rural areas, but otherwise it seems like a sensible idea.

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You miss the point.

Are you really so naiive as to think that once this subsidised roll-out of rural broadband is complete the Government would then go "Oh, ok, that's done, let's scrapt the tax"?

They'll find another excuse to keep it (probably to run an online "child protection" service or some such) and then, to cover the extra "administration costs" bump it up to 75p, then a quid and once more the frog gets boiled.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite

You are entirely correct in suggesting that they would keep the "tax" for as long as they could excuse it. There is a precedent.

Back in (IIRC) 1992 the EU got on their high horse about fuel being cheap in the UK (it was so cheap that truck drivers from France were catching the ferry to fill up) they insisted that the UK governement bring their fuel prices up to the European average. So the then Tory government introduced what became known as the fuel price escalator to gradually ramp up fuel prices over a number of years. In 1997 the target was reached. Did the, now Nulabour, government scrap the escalator? No they did not. They kept it going for several years until fuel prices in the UK were so high that truck drivers fromt the UK were catching the ferry to Europe to fill up. Lots of lovely revenue for the government and a "tax" that they continually tried to blame Major's government for.

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WTF?

Cloud cuckoo land

All these people living in cities and constantly being upgraded from 1m-2m-4m-8m-20m and now talk of 50meg and beyond. All the while, I have lived in a rural area and paid exactly the same amount for my broadband at 1meg than you have been enjoying for years at speeds way in excess of that (in fact I do not qualify for "cheap location" subsidies that almost all 'urban' residents do, so I am actually paying more for the service). If we talk about "fair policy" then somebody receiving 1meg b/b should pay considerably less than those that receive 8meg. I for one am sick of paying through the nose for my broadband and seeing no benefit from it. wake up. ISP's come on - turn those tables around and now actually put the seven years of me subsidising those in the city for upgrades to pointless speeds and give me something back in return. How many people actually see that much difference moving from 8meg to 20 meg or 50meg? If you *need* that bandwidth then why am I being treated any differently and being put at the back of the queue? Trying to run my own business on 1meg is getting crippling, because I cannot compete with others. 'Digital Britain'? don't make me laugh 'Digital Cities at the expense of those that live in more rural areas' seems a more accurate description.

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Megaphone

Grr....

Why should people who can ill afford it have to pay for rich people to have broadband in their country homes?

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because we have been supporting you for years

quote "Why should people who can ill afford it have to pay for rich people to have broadband in their country homes?"...

Why? Because we have been fleeced for years supporting the upgrade of your networks whilst ours remain below most 'third' world b/b enabled countries. (okay, not many 3rd world countries have b/b, but countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and others are far in excess of what can only be described as third world standard in rural areas.)

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Anonymous Coward

It's not just rich people who live in the country

I'd probably have agreed with you, but I just spent 2 months in Fort William (not the biggest of places- certainly not the smallest) and there's nothing to do there. Nothing (well, except going to the pub). The closest cinema is about 40 miles away. The Internet's crap up there (I guess few lines + lots of people trying to use the net = contention issues), my TV didn't get much of a signal so I'll assume it's awful, mobile phone signals on most networks are awful, etc. Not full of the wealthy either. Well, except the publicans.

If this was a time-limited tax, I'd not have a problem with it. But, like the previously mentioned petrol price escalator it'll not be gotten rid of for years after it's repaid BT's costs in full.

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Grenade

BT Top-Up Fee.

Please, the broadband tax, from day one, has stunk to high heaven of nothing more than MPs jockeying for directorships in BT when they're left jobless in May/June. Why else would we be forced to pay a tax on our landlines to provide funding for maintenance on a privately-owned infrastructure?

We've been taxed to the hilt under this disgraceful attempt at government, and yet, in their dying hours, they come back demanding their final pound of flesh.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

I thought they were going to invite bids area by area to roll out the technology? That's what they originally promised anyway. OK so the end result would be BT or Virgin. Lets be fair it would probably be the case that if BT got your area you'd get a service, if Virgin got your area you'd be promised something twice as fast that would never quite arrive. You think BT are bad? Virgin really have cherry picked the profitable areas and totally ignored the rest, all the while making vague promises about extending their coverage.

The trouble with this sort of thing is you don't actually want a single provider in any area, you want true competition. LLU needs to really happen. The exchanges and the "last mile" need to be taken away from BT and renationalised. Then the government could rent space in the exchanges to any provider who could pay. No more IPStream crap, please. Lets have the situation where your cable is plugged into your ISPs equipment at the exchange and your ISP has it's own pipe direct to the exchange. Once this happened competition in marginal areas would hot up. Without it there will be no real competition and no incentive to push the rollout in rural areas.

This would also stop the bullshit. ISPs would have to stop promising the earth and then delivering a poxy IPStream connection through BT Central with a terrible contention ratio. I have neighbours who get a nominal 8Mb/s through their IPStream provider (think one letter and one number), but are lucky to get much over 1Mb/s true speed at busy times.

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Pint

No problem here

I have no problem with a small tax of 50p a month to enable broadband to be rolled out into non-profitable rural areas. However, what I do have a problem with is that it will effectively be a tax to support and enable a private company (British Telecommunications) to extend their coverage with no extra cost to them.

If the tax is used to extend broadband to rural areas, then the ducting/copper/fiber laid down with public money, should be publicly owned, and open to all broadband providers for a small nominal charge.

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Bankers

£175m = 1/4857 of a bank bailout (£850bn)

or 0.02%

and they expect us to pay for it ?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/163850bn-official-cost-of-the-bank-bailout-1833830.html

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Anonymous Coward

It never made sense to me

Putting a tax on every landline regardless of whether it had broadband in order to pay for a broadband rollout? They may as well have stuck a tax on every house with a white front door.

There is about as much relationship between having a landline and the funding of rural broadband as their is between the colour of your front door and funding for rural broadband. It's a complete nonesense.

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Definitions please

"a majority who will not, or are unable to, reap the benefits of that charge,"

What does that mean? Does it mean that people who are forced to pay the levy are in areas that will be covered by fast broad band and thus will pay for something they already enjoy? Or, does it mean that people in remote areas who pay will never reap the benefits because they are too far from the exchange? Finally does it mean that people who have no interest in using the internet, 10 million, by some accounts, will have to pay regardless of the fact that they don't want broadband fast or otherwise?

I am in the second category, I have broadband, of sorts, but will NEVER get 2Mb/s as I am too far from the exchange. So why should I pay when there is no likelihood of me benefitting?

Lots of questions, any answers gratefully received.

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Grenade

blah

You sem to have miss-understood - the proposal is to use this tex to roll out BT's 20CN cable network, i.e. fiberoptic cable to the cabinet or property. This will mean that people who live far from the exchange will get speeds just as fast as everyone else as at the least there will be cable to the cabinet which feeds their line.

As well as replacing copper with fibre, BT plan to replace analogue telephone lines with digital (IP based) telephony so as well as getting a far wider bandwidth with fibre, the voice part of the lines will also use far less bandwidth meaning a double increase for data speeds.

While I'm not too happy with the concept of a landline tax, I welcome the 20CN roll-out as a massive step forward. Unfair as it may seem, if a 50p landline tax enables this roll out to be fully fiberoptic and extends it to close to 100% of the population then it has to be a good thing.

However, as has already been stated, this must NOT become just another tax - the cost of rolling out a national fibre network is finite and so the tax should only be levied until such a time as the network installation costs are covered, from that point every line becomes a commercial asset and ongoing maintenance must be paid for by BT and other companies who profit through it, otherwise this would effectively be a partail re-nationalisation of the telephone network.

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re definitions, please

completely agree, but you have missed the point here - you have been paying a premium price for your "2meg" broadband for years, in order that others can be upgraded from 2 to 4 to 8 to 20 to 50 meg. you have been paying for their upgrades, and it is about time the tables were reversed and people who cannot receive such speeds got to see some benefit for all that money they have been forced to pay in order that many in this column take for expected. you should pay for what you get - 50 meg - £50/mnth, 8 meg considerably less, 2 even less, and if you are unfortunate enough to be able to reach less than 1meg like I am, it should be less again. you don't pay the same for a fiesta as a ferrari, so why should broadband packages be treated differently?

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Oh ye simpletons

Does anyone see the word "hypothecated" in all this? If not, then the take from the new tax will go into the general treasury. What it gets used for after that ... well, remember "national insurance", designed to provide for your old age? And how that just became a tax.

Please don't be taken in by this "50p" rubbish either. The idea is to establish the principle of taxing internet access. Once established, the tax will rise and rise and rise.

Never, never, ever agree to new taxes. We pay taxes on everything already, at fantastic percentages. We pay over almost half our incomes, even on basic rate tax. There is not the remotest need for a new one; except greed.

THINK!

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Other taxes that never went

Income tax. VED. Fuel tax. TV license. All of which were introduced for one thing with a promise that they would be droped at a later date and never were, just went up and up.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't forget, we're into Parliamentary injury time now

so I wouldn't put too much stock in any reports emerging from any of its tentacles in the next couple of months

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Dictatorship of the majority...?

"We believe that a 50 pence levy placed on fixed telecommunication lines is an ill-directed charge. It will place a disproportionate cost on a majority who will not, or are unable to, reap the benefits of that charge,"

Isn't this pretty much the definition of all government spending? The majority of people pay National Insurance to subsidise the minority who have serious illnesses or long-term unemployment problems. A city dweller who never travels more than 5 miles in his car pays the same road tax as a farmer who lives 50 miles from any major town. An immigrant not educated in this country and with no children is still required to fund UK schools.

It is in the country's interests to maintain a stable rural population, and right now "market forces" are freezing rural people out of broadband, and they are the people most in need of improved communications links.

No amount of tax breaks is going to make rural cabling more profitable than sticking to dense urban centres -- compulsion is the only option.

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Stop

Country's interest?

Why is it "in the country's interests to maintain a stable rural population"?

I currently live in a rural area, and I pay a bit more for my rather rubbish broadband than I used to when I lived in a city. But I recognise the extra costs in deploying broadband in sparsely populated areas, and I don't see why others should subsidise my choice to live in a rural area.

If you want fast Internet, either pay for it yourselves or move somewhere else.

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Anonymous Coward

Amenities

And would you be happy to pay extra for other amenities too? I'm not just talking about gas, water and electricity. The council bin wagon has to travel further to get to your house than an urban property so should you and your neighbours be paying for the extra fuel and man hours? And the list goes on and on. The infrastructure for maintaining your everyday life costs and the further you live from the major population centres the more it costs.

Should you pay more for your water because of the cost of laying miles of mains pipeline out into the sticks to serve a small number of properties?

Do you think it's fair that Royal mail want rural residents to either collect their post from the local post office (which probably won't be local anyway, what with all the closures) or pay a premium for delivery?

The tax is stupid. The customers in the well served areas should simply subsidise the customers in the less wells served areas. It's how the other amenities tend to work. The trouble is that our current government is in the pocket of big business and panders accordingly. It's years since this government promised we'd all have broadband (can't recall the timescales, but why does 2010 ring a bell) they should simply have passed legislation to make it incumbent upon all the providers to do their bit. It would be simple to introduce tax benefits and penalties for companies based on their ratio of customers in urban areas to the number in rural areas. And whinging that BT don't have the infrastructure wouldn't cut it. Other ISPs should simply be told to install their own infrastructure. Of course there's one provider who would suffer more than most in such an arrangement. Virgin only have customers in urban areas don't they?

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Rubbish concept

The concept of having equal broadband provision everywhere in the country is illogical and stupid. If you live in the country, you accept certain downsides (having to drive everywhere, no busses, no local shops etc.) for the upsides (less noise, good views etc.). Why shouldn't lower broadband speeds or none at all be part of that same equation. If it makes sense to keep broadband the same everywhere, shouldn't everyone get a good view wherever they live as well? Shouldn't everyone have peace and quiet like the countryside as well? By the same logic, we should tax everyone who breathes an amount per month to fund fresh air in the cities? Surely, everyone should have the same fresh air.

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WTF?

Sterotype

You assume that everyone in the country is a rich landowner in some mansion. The "fresh air" smells of cowshit at the moment, I live next to a major A road that is certainly not as quiet as your (stereotypical) suburban stepford housing estate with its speed bumps. The buses run regularly to pick up us poor country folk that can't afford the petrol to take us to the supermarket more than once a week. (Because on average you sterotypical suburban types drive the 1 mile to the local supermaket 4 times a week to pick up a pint of milk no doubt). My view is of the busy road and the industrial unit on the other side of it.

Why don't I move to the city you may well ask? Because if your post is anything to go by, its full of ar**holes like you!

The only difference between the counrtyside and the cities are that you'll get broadband and I won't.

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So, you live in "affordable housing?"

If you are saying you live in "affordable housing" and are on minimum wage in one of the many jobs available in the countryside and you can't move to the city because there's no affordable housing or minimum wage jobs then you may have a point. Otherwise it's your choice to live somewhere without broadband an nobody else's.

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Bah!

Why should anyone be penalised for living in the country?

I live where I do because I was born here and my family live all around. I know I'm lucky as I live in a beautiful part of the world and accept that there may be some drawbacks to doing so , though what you have never had you don't miss; but why should I be penalised for going back to where I came from? What I originally posted were some questions asking who would pay but not use the improved broadband service and used my personal example to point out what the consequences of this part of the bill might be

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Tories are against this?

I live in the third of the country whiich is not "economically viable" to roll out fibre broadband (Just like I wasn't part of the country where it was initially thought that broadband wasn't going to be viable AT ALL - but now everyone has it)

More and more people have the ability to work from home where there is reasonable broadband, enabling those in the rural communities to save a fortune on fuel and saving a bit of CO2 to boot.

Broadband is now an essential part of my lifestyle as much as a mobile phone and a car. Additionally it is an essential part of my business. I therefore consider the broadband tax to be a GOOD idea.

I live in rural North Yorkshire, a conservative area. But how do you think I'll vote if the Tories plan to scrap this tax at the coming election?

Tories - Frikkin Luddites - Trying to keep all of us that don't live in a city in the dark ages.

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Megaphone

You think it's a good idea...

because you live in the country and will benefit from it.

Most smokers don't like the smoking ban, because it affects them.

Thats the key here, the many will be paying for something they will never get a benefit from(like most taxes to be honest...)

Like it was said above, how would the country folk liek to pay a monthly tax for cities to have cleaner air? some might say it's a good idea but the majority will say "What do I get out of it?"

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yes, it is a good idea

quote - "the many will be paying for something they will never get a benefit from"

The few have for too long been paying for something they have had or never will get any benefit from. All those upgrades to major city networks to give you all nice fat bandwidth, and we rural dwellers have seen diddly squat by way of recompense for the many years of supporting those upgrades. consider it this way - would you be happy at the same price as you are now, but receiving only 1meg b/b? No you wouldn't. I know it's a choice of where you live. If I am prepared to have sub-standard service, then I should also not be forced to pay premium price for that service.

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New Reg SI unit called for surely?

MPs today expressed concern that the government "has not defined what 2Mbit/s will mean in practice".

Surely this calls for a new El Reg unit of measurement to clarify the situation.

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Grenade

Luddite

@Howard Cole

Do you have gas and mains sewer out in the sticks?

Not everyone does. Some people have to pay for bottled gas and a lorry to take their shit away. That is their choice. Live in the countryside: don't expect all the amenities. Broadband is not as essential as gas or sewers.

If you a really going to change the way you vote over this you shouldn't be allowed a vote, but I suspect you are red through and through anyway.

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@georgeclooneylookalike

@georgeclooneylookalike

Hi georgeclooneylookalike,

Yes I have gas and mains sewer - however - if I didn't have gas I could easily get an alternative fuel type that is only a little more expensive and thus be able to heat my house as fast as you can in the burbs.

If I didn't have mains sewer then I could get a very sustainable and cheap to run sewage system and shit as fast as you do in the burbs.

There is no cheap alternative for fast broadband that I am aware of. So without fibre to cabinet I cannot surf as fast as you in the burbs.

Anyway, so it was clearly viable to lay water/sewer/gas/electricity/phone to my place - so the only reason BT don't want to lay a fibre cable is that they can't see a fast profit in doing so and therefore want to squeeze more profit by getting the government to pay.

Don't get me wrong georgeclooneylookalike, I am not totally averse to paying more for my broadband, and like everyone else here I don't think that the proposed tax is the fairest option but I do see broadband as much as a right as the ability to receive TV for which I pay a huge tax. Only I see broadband as much more important as it could be a major driver to our economy which is already in need of some serious investment.

Yes broadband really is important to me. I use it extensively for work - play - socialising. I see it as the infrastructure to a better economy for the UK - so if the tories cannot come up with an alternative then Yes. It is worth changing my vote. Unfortunately I cannot see any other differentiators when it comes to my vote.

So I appreciate your views george, but please understand mine.

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What (s)he said...

...that statement by The Committee flies in the face of the whole principle of centralised spending. "Why should my taxes pay for (e.g.) ambulances for people who live 50 miles from a hospital, when I only live 1 mile away ?" And it's not people living in huge country mansions, AnonCoward#2 - I come from a fairly piddling town in the middle of nowhere, most of my former school mates are either unemployed or doing crap factory/supermarket jobs AND having to put up with dial-up when they get home...

One thing mentioned in the headline but not in the article though, is that this is a regressive tax (like any flat-rate charge such as the Poll Tax, or the TV licence fee) : progressive = richer you are, the more % you pay ; regressive = richer you are, the less % you pay. Regressive tax is BAD, mmm'kay.

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Rural is Rich

Before we get even more stupid comments about rural areas being rich, SHUT UP. They are not, there is a huge amount of rural poverty but the only thing you see on TV about farming is rich types who "downsize" the the countryside and play at farms. 1 in 4 UK farming families live in poverty. If you drive round the countryside they have bugger all access to any facilities at all.

Also why should the public be taxed for this, am I not right in saying that BT makes rather a lot of profit, as do most telecos? If they want tax income then they should be privatised. If not then mandate them and make them pay for it out of profit.

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IT Angle

Rural No Longer?

Has anyone thought how long the rural areas within easy reach of major conurbations would remain rural if they got anything like reliable broadband, even 2Mb?

There's enough companies getting staff to work from home now, for one reason or another, companies with existing infrastructure to support substantial numbers of workers accessing internal systems via the likes of Citrix etc, 2Mb is more than adequate for that.

So what happens to the price of rural houses when they start getting bought with working like this in mind? There's outcry now about affordable housing for rural communities, get anything like reliable, reasonable speed telecomms links and watch what happens.

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FAIL

Why can't

those folks living in rural areas not subscribe to mobile broadband if broadband access means so much to them. Or is that NIMBYs have prevented access to the mobile phone networks by protesting against phone masts?

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Not just Nimbys

Because a lot of areas don't have masts that cover them due to the geography and the same lack of investment we have seen for the LLU operators in some areas... and not all of them small hamlets our exchange serves nearly 9000 lines and yet no LLU here.

Its strange...... they rush to put in oil and gas terminals here, and tear up the place laying pipelines..... but no publicly accessible Fibre... They are now building a new Power station here and there is a huge cabling operation in place for that too but no..... but no publicly accessible Fibre. We know there is some here, the college has access to it.. county hall apparently has it (via a specialist operator that services organisations like that)... probably the oil and gas terminals have it.. but the people - who put up with all the b/s that goes with all the nationally important infrastructure located here in the idyllic countryside with all the pylons and chimneys that are so picturesque - don't get a look in.

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Unhappy

@blubster

LOL. yeah, mobile broadband - great idea. except I tried that out in rural yorkshire and got 36kb speed. rural = patchy mobile reception. Lose on both counts. :-(

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Anonymous Coward

@Blubster

You sir demonstrate a level of fuckwittage worth of Boris Johnson.

The reason there is no mobile broadband coverage in rural areas is nothing to do with the nimbys. It's down to the operators saying it's not economically viable to provide 3G coverage in rural areas. Which is of course where we came in.

You bid for the spectrum, provide the coverage or lose the spectrum. That should be the government's approach, but unfortunately they have been letting big business run the country for almost thirteen years so it's not going to happen.

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WTF?

Yeah, but...

What's to say that the money will even be used by the Government to implement broadband in the manner they describe? Look at the Road Fund License - created to pay for road building and repairs, but in reality just goes in to the treasuries coffers. Evidence? The state of our roads that more resemble the surface of the moon...

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I already subsidised Internet access

Down the years I've pumped £1000's (literally) into Internet access, as a perpetual early adopter I've already subsidized broadband at levels the 50p tax will never reach here in the city. £90+/month right at the start of dial-up ;(

If rural areas want it they need to do the same, pay the premium needed to bootstrap supply themselves. And give up on this fixation on fibre, if they can afford to run a mobile they can afford to run mobile broadband. The towers will deploy a hell of a lot faster than BT will act.

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Grenade

Rural Life....

@David Edwards - well said, way to many people think life in the country is some hybridisation of Emmerdale and River Cottage, is it buggery!!

As for the Web tax - here's a proposal: Make it a sliding scale of 25p for each 1Mpbs you get. Good for those being digitally excluded by BT et al's attitudes to anywhere green, bad for you city types with 50Mbps cable!!

As I regularly check my speeds using speedtest.com I'll be happy to shell out 12.5p a month (yes my average downstream is 600Kbps - before you ask I live 3km from an exchange and cable is not available)

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Boffin

Geography

Firstly, the numbers already bandied about are very unclear - I don't think there is quite such a clear divide in England, but in Scotland around 95% of the population live on only 5% of the land, ie approx 90% live in the two biggest cities. On that basis, talking about "one third of the country" may mean 33% of the people, or it may mean about 3% of the people - which is it?

The Government seems to want to have it both ways as usual - the tax won't cost much (for now) which quite clearly means that it will barely raise enough money to cover the cost of administering the new tax, leaving nothing significant to actually spend on infrastructure.

No-one seems to be raising the issue of obligation: the post office are obliged to provide the same service to everyone, regardless of location, and I believe that BT are obliged to provide a landline phone service in much the same way, so why not internet access over much the same infrastructure?

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Not true.

@The First Dave.

'No-one seems to be raising the issue of obligation: the post office are obliged to provide the same service to everyone, regardless of location, and I believe that BT are obliged to provide a landline phone service in much the same way, so why not internet access over much the same infrastructure?'

If you really believe everyone gets the same postal service and landline phone service wherever they live, you're mistaken. Postal services in the more rural areas are far worse than in the towns/cities. Ask anyone on the islands of Scotland!!

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Anonymous Coward

50p today... what about tomorrow?

A 50p levy is such a tiny figure that it's hard to object to without being petty... *if* it stays at 50p. What worries me is that once the mechanism for collecting this extra money is in place, the amount will be hiked in future. Yet another stealth tax in other words.

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Remeber it's 50p/line to *begin* with.

And as others have pointed out it's *not* ring fenced. In true NuLabour style push the bayonet in, if it meets fat, push harder.

But the bottom line is it's a *bribe* to BT to get them to do this work. alternatively how about letting their competitors take over *all* responsability for a local loop if they agree to provide broadband.

And the competitor keeps all the revenue. Pre-privatisation BT had an 18-24 month backlog in telephone installations. The arrival of Mercury dropped that quite a bit.

I think HMG bungs enough bribes to BAe already (You *have* to buy our UK made choppers, otherwise (sob) we'll just have to fire all those helpless workers).

Yes they are totally different companies. Both have a *very* substantial position in UK markets and both seem to play the helpless victim at every opportunity. These are multi *billion* pound PLC's, not some battered spouse. some parts of both of them have provided significant benefit to the UK economy. Others seem totally useless.

And remember for *any* of this to be real it would have to pass the election.

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Silver badge

I don't mind the 50p...

...as such. The money has to come from somewhere.

And it would be nice to think that this 50P will evaporate in a year or two once the roll-out is complete.

What I do mind is the fact that this 50p will grow in size and become permanent. Thus we will all end up paying £15 a month (or whatever) for a "internet fund license" which will actually go to pay for first class train tickets etc and not be used for what it was originally intended.

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Badgers

I imagine that...

many people like myself will simply do away with a landline. What it currently costs me to have a BT landline will be switched into my mobile plan and I'll not really be any worse off.

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@justabloke1

Part of the problem with rural areas is that the mobile coverage is often bloody awful - I live in the northern Peak District and TBH I only get 2G with any stability. 3G comes and goes as it sees fit so trying to use it as a replacement would be even worse than the pathetic excuse we get for broadband.

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OK BT Here is the deal......

I will pay the 50 pence "tax" only if I can see a roll out plan of what will be upgraded and where.

I will bet said 50 pence and pretty much will be going to upgrade the easy to reach exchanges which has decent speeds already.

Call me cynical if you must.

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Taxes

The problem with all taxes is that nobody can ever agree on them and they are always unfair to someone and there's always a logical argument (or two) for every angle people come up with. Progressive taxes that tax according to your wealth (or perceived wealth) are considered good by people who have little (and therefore won't pay much). They argue the more you have, the more you should pay. Some sense there. Regressive taxes at a fixed level regardless of wealth are always preferred by the wealthy as they will pay less. They argue why should they pay more for their services than anyone else when they use them the same. i.e. Why should an ambulance ride cost more (effectively) to a rich person than a poor person etc. Again, some sense there.

So, the issue here is that Labour (and most other parties and politicians) always think the answer to everything is taxation. It isn't and it's devisive. People nearly always vote on these matters according to the cost to them. Whether it's fair or not is irrelevant. Why should a rich person pay more in tax? What's the logic there? If they use the same services to the same levels as a poor person, why should the cost be different? Social conscience? Maybe, but why should that be enforced in law?If they have a social conscience, maybe they should simply give to charity.

The point here is that taxation is normally the wrong answer to everything. Let's challenge the politicians to come up with something really radical....................a solution that doesn't involve tax!!

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