back to article Please, Hammond ... don't hurt 'em: 'Suggestions' time for UK digi tax clampdown

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer* Philip Hammond unveiled the first areas to receive £95m from the government's full-fibre fund and suggestions for how the UK could tax large digital businesses - in a slimmed-down "Spring Statement" light on details. During the 20-minute long update, Hammond said the economy is forecast to grow …

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"positively Tigger-like"

A 2-dimensional cartoon character, from a Mickey Mouse organisation? Sounds like a good description of a lot of politicians.

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Re: "positively Tigger-like"

@ Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

Who on earth was downvoting your comment? It was spot on!

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Re: "positively Tigger-like"

No, Tigger is loveable, like Pooh, Eeyore, Roo, Wol and Piglet. Christopher Robin is a bit dull though - could make a future Chancellor.

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Re: "positively Tigger-like"

Oi! You forgot Kanga. I hope that's not because she was Roo's mother and thus unambiguously female.

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@tiggity

Who on earth was downvoting your comment?

Not me. Only just read this story, and not voting either way on the comments here.

But the description "cartoon character" looks to me like confusing Milne's childrens books for some film, probably Disney. What's not to downvote about that?

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IT Angle

@Commswonk

Kindly report to your local re-education camp.

Male and female have become detached from biology. You can now be legally a man and give birth: I recollect a news report of exactly that a year or two back (no, it wasn't April 1st). The individual had had a sex changegender assignment legally recognised.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't see how a LFFN is going to help Blackpool to be honest. That needs some serious investment.

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Re: help Blackpool

Air burst nuke?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: help Blackpool

Only if they get those sellers walking the promenade, they get all stabby at night with each other.

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Re: help Blackpool

I could be wrong but I'm fairly certain that most if not all of the Fylde Coast already has FTTC; I fail to see quite what will be achieved by a widespread upgrade to FTTP.

Having said that I am not a politician so they probably believe in Fairy Dust anyway.

FTTP; the Cillit Bang of modern communications. Get Barry Scott to advertise it.

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Megaphone

help roll out full fibre to local areas

Could Mr Hammond and cronies please remember that "local areas" are not just exclusively in and around London, and if they wired up some of the more isolated regions (North, South West) they could probably not only address long-term unemployment but also make it easier to move out of London, coz there's jobs!

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Re: help roll out full fibre to local areas

if they wired up some of the more isolated regions (North, South West) they could probably not only address long-term unemployment but also make it easier to move out of London, coz there's jobs!

How do you reckon that?

If you compare a national map of Virgin Media's cable footprint and one of unemployment rates, you'll observe a fairly good correlation between high speed internet access and unemployment and deprivation. I'm not suggesting any link (other than via population density) but its fairly clear that the availability of fast internet connections does jack shit for employment rates.

Birmingham, for example, is and has for years been an unemployment hot spot, yet has also had very extensive cable availability for a couple of decades. Government can throw as much money as they want at "full fibre" and it will make sod all difference to employment rates.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: help roll out full fibre to local areas

Having a Vermin Media cable running past your door and comparing it to unemployment is only part of the picture.

What about those who have Sky?

If I look at the houses on the former council estate near me which I know is cabled up for Vermin, I see many houses with Satellite dishes. They could be FreeSat but I'm inclined to think that a good proportion of them have Sky. This estate is also renowned as the local unemployment blackspot.

One of the guys I see regularly fishing on the local canal lives there and hasn't had a proper job for 25+ years. (I sometimes use the pitch next to his as he's done a lot of groundbaiting and we get talking.)

It isn't as simple as you are trying to make out.

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Re: help roll out full fibre to local areas

Yeah but VM's network can't handle static IP addresses without breaking packets in half. Useless for a lot of businesses or home workers.

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Re: help roll out full fibre to local areas

> see many houses with Satellite dishes. They could be FreeSat but I'm inclined to think that a good proportion of them have Sky.

Well the dishes are free, few people take them down when they cancel the service and Sky is widely cracked these days - hence their current move to ditch satellite and go with streaming which can actually be protected effectively.

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Hospitals as hubs?

" hospitals, health centres and GP surgeries...providing a full-fibre “hub” which surrounding homes and businesses could then also be connected to."

What could possibly...etc?

"Quick, where's that urgent X-Ray I need to download? What do you mean, it's the last episode of 'Game of Thrones' and we're throttled down to a 14,400bps connection?"

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SVV
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£95 million in total

After a rough calculation, this is something of the order of £20 per person and business in the areas involved, i.e. Not Very Much. Also equivalent to about half the £42 million fine Openreach received last year from Ofcom - presumably that's now being magically transferred back to Openreach as part of the £95 million announced today. Further research equates the figure to that for building 4 miles of motorway, or 6 miles of dual carriageway. In other words he's boasting about spending peanuts. Furthermore, there may well be an app born every hour in the UK, and there may be a sucker born every minute, but an app does not a tech business make in most circumstances.......

This all fits in nicely with his "confident performance" fuelled by the "tremendous good news" of a massive increase of 0.1% in the forecast he is making for growth.

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Re: £95 million in total

To be fair, 0.1% while talking about the fifth (iirc) largest economy in the world is probably more cash than everybody reading this comment will make in their lives combined and then some.

Now I'm off to throw up and get the evil out of me for being fair while talking about a politician.

You're right about it being peanuts though. They could have just used to £2B Mrs May decided to spend on GCHQ the other year "because turrists" and actually make a difference.

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Anonymous Coward

Why not install fibre while they fix the pot holes when relaying the road? Two birds, one stone.

and you at the back, stop laughing.

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Not such a good idea

around here.

Usually within seven days of a road being completely relaid, a whole host of organisations have come along and dug up their little patch of it. And seemingly none of whom have the ability, or care, to reinstate that patch properly when they're finished.

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Re: Not such a good idea

I remember a report, some years ago, about a sensible country that had a clever scheme. If utility A needed to dig up the road, then the council contacted all other utilities and asked if they had any work planned in the area, if so , do it at the same time. When all the work was done, council completely resurfaced road (so no patches). The stinger? If any utility asked to dig the road up in the next couple of years, they could, and had to pay for a complete resurfacing again.

I don't think the country had the problem of 'holes in the roads'

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Re: Not such a good idea

I remember a report, some years ago, about a sensible country that had a clever scheme. If utility A needed to dig up the road, then the council contacted all other utilities and asked if they had any work planned in the area, if so , do it at the same time. When all the work was done, council completely resurfaced road (so no patches). The stinger? If any utility asked to dig the road up in the next couple of years, they could, and had to pay for a complete resurfacing again.

Seems like a great idea. I think it could be improved though - simply reroute the utilities from under the road to under the footpath at the next upgrade. It's cheaper and easier to resurface, easier to redirect foot traffic, would avoid many potholes (which are the bane of my local ambulance crews & cyclists), and would have a much less adverse impact on congestion.

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Re: Not such a good idea

Unfortunately that requires logic and common sense, all of which are typically lacking in pretty much all bureaucracies, local and national governments.

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Re: Not such a good idea

"If utility A needed to dig up the road, then the council contacted all other utilities and asked if they had any work planned in the area, if so , do it at the same time."

https://youtu.be/G3OKixwUFS0

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Anonymous Coward

So no sign of the digital strategy then?

Aren't we still waiting for the government to write their digital strategy, now several years late?

How does this fit, Phil?

Meanwhile, the rest of the world.....

Yawn at the speed UK does anything anymore. Slowest growth in the G20 no surprise, let's chat some more before doing anything!!!

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Pint

Hammond and May

Amazing that your country is being run by Hammond and May, but you failed to include Clarkson.

(Joke concept credit goes to somebody on Friday Night Comedy on BBC 4.)

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Joke

Re: Hammond and May

In that context, as long as May's first act was to prevent Hammond from making any decisions, we could all look forwards to the country being painstakingly dismantled and put back together very slowly.

I, for one, would welcome our new dictator.

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A room, somewhere in Whitehall

Hacker: I say Sir Humprey, good news on this Fibre rollout, the Challenge Fund eh, British ingenuity and pluck at its best eh?

Sir Humphrey: Yes indeed minister

Hacker: What exactly does this Fibre to the home do?, i mean is it usefull at all?

Sir Humphrey: Do you mean, are there votes in it?

Hacker: Well no, eh yes, no, i mean, are there?

Sir Humphrey: Not really, those people who use Fibre during the day have no jobs, and they don't vote our way, as a rule, and those that use it in the evening are so tired after working all hours they don't notice the difference.

Hacker: Ah, what about the continentals, what do they do about it?

Sir Humphrey: Well as an example penetration rates are

Spain 98%,

Portugal 88%

and the UK 3%

Hacker: Good god that sounds terrible, like we don't know what we're doing?

Sir Humphrey: on the contrary Minister, since we are so low we have the fastest pace of improvement, we only need 200,000 new homes to have a 25% improvement.

Sir Humphrey: The tortoise and the hare, Minister.

Hacker: Excellent, you had me worried there for a second, send my congratuations to number 11 on their far reaching vision.

Sir Humphrey: Yes indeed Minister, as always our civil service motto guides us.

Sir Humphrey: fortuna timidos

Hacker: Of course, good to hear it again. What, eh, does it mean, this time?

Sir Humphrey: Why Fortune Favours the Timid, Minister

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Anonymous Coward

NHS

...can't touch this...

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