back to article Broadband tax of £6 per year to fund rural fibre rollout

The government plans to impose a 50 pence monthly levy on every phone and broadband line to fund the rollout of fibre to rural areas, it was announced today. The measure, which will mean city dwellers subsidise faster broadband in sparsely populated areas where the economic case for commercial investment is weak, will come in …

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  1. Tel
    Thumb Down

    Yet Another Stealth Tax

    Not content with raiding our pensions, re-re-introducing the fuel tax escalator, abolishing the 10% tax band for the low paid, and a host of other tax swindles, the Government is now slapping a 5+% or so tax on your telephone line on top of the VAT.

    Gee thanks Gordon. I don't think.

  2. hobs

    New Labour

    New Tax. Nuff said

  3. Tom 15

    How

    How is a tax that is announced as a new tax in any way a stealth tax? I don't neccessarily agree with it (people living in rural areas are generally more affluent than those in urban areas so the whole idea seems counterintuitive; perhaps BT should just charge more for rural areas?) but to label it as a stealth tax seems a bit silly.

  4. Lan ser

    copyright

    Can I claim copyright infringement? must be worth a couple of pints

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/15/tsb_research/

    £29billion

    By Lan ser Posted Friday 15th May 2009 13:45 GMT

    £29 Billion works out at £500 per person in the UK spread that out over the 10 years or so it's take to complete and thats £50 a year a single solitary british squid a week, sounds like a bargain to me for a 10gb connection.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Statist Cnut gives State Aid to State Monopoly?

    Is this what it seems to be, which is yet another subsidy for BT so that it can continue to pump taxpayers' money in to its shareholders pockets?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh, here we go...

    pay 50p, a month to help people who don't have the advantages i do? But i don wanna, waaaa.

  7. Neur0mancer
    Flame

    Wurzel Tax

    Why should we pay for these cousin-copulating rural bumpkins who eat hay all day? They won't even know what to do with the internet, they'll just dig up the fibre and sell it or eat it or something.

  8. LuMan
    Thumb Down

    Brilliant <\sarcasm>

    OK, so the poorer, inner-city areas will now fund the more affluent, rural areas. Gee there's a logic I can't help but be unimpressed with. It's not my fault that some people choose to live in picturesque, exclusive (and, in their minds, elitist) areas, yet it seems to befall me and my ilk (i.e. hard-working, lower-paid tax payers) to fund their sodding broadband. Goodbye, Labour - yet ANOTHER cash-based reason to NOT vote for you at the next General Election.

    Also, "Asked if he believed it would be a popular measure, he said: "We'll have to wait and see."" REALLY?!?! He's not got the slightest inkling that this 'measure' will be about as popular as Gary Glitter at a Kindergarten open day.

    Idiocy. Utter idiocy!

  9. Dave Ross
    Stop

    What?

    We are being made to subsidise broadband for people, quite a lot of whom don't actually want broadband?

    Please stop the planet, I want to get off now.

  10. chrisblore
    Thumb Down

    Stealth tax

    It is a stealth tax in that it is a tax in all but name. As far as I see it, if people who live in rural areas want or need broadband they can pay for it themselves. I, like most of the other people who will be subsidising this shambles without benefiting, live in a town where I can receive a perfectly decent internet connection, albeit paying through the nose for line rental already.

    If people want broadband they only have to move. Otherwise, make them pay for it and don't force yet another unjustified price hike on the rest of us!

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What return will I get on my investment?

    I suspect I will get nothing, and all this infrastructure will be given to BT for free.

  12. nigel 15
    Thumb Down

    My Gran will be really happy.

    I'm sure she'll be super keen to fund the next generation of super-fast broadband.

    she's always complaining that with out fibre to home her current 22mbps is just not fast enough for her torrents to download at the same time as running apache server to to distribute her content to the other people in her sheltered housing.

  13. Carl Thomas

    Laughable

    Can't say I'm overjoyed at the idea of my taxes being used to fund a broadband USO, however to have them used to delivery next generation services to the arse end of nowhere gets up my nose in no uncertain terms.

    Presumably next will be a tax to get a metro/underground network to every town and city after all it can't be fair that I have one close to me here, I just chose to live in the city and give up all the things someone in the sticks takes for granted like space and clean air in return for these conveniences. Silly of me really could have it both ways once Labour tax my backside.

    I guess removing the business rate on fibre optics in ducting to stimulate a fibre optic rollout isn't going to happen, Gordon enjoys raiding our collective pockets far too much to actually drop a tax to improve services.

  14. AP25
    Thumb Down

    another tax to pay

    getting taxed on everything now.

    cant even die without paying tax!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What about mobile broadband

    This government has no idea on IT.

    The 3G carriers are trying to expand data coverage and encourage usage, with HSDPA cat 10 users will have connection speeds of 10.8 MB.

    Why go to all the trouble and great expense of laying a fixed line to the doorstep?

    Wake up to mobile comms.

  16. john loader

    My mum will be pleased

    My mum is 92 and has the phone as a lifel inon her pensione. Computers are a closed book. She'll be delighted to contribute to me getting more than the 750kb/s I get - so fair don't you think?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Final Third

    There's some mixing of metaphors going on here - the 'final third' relates to those people who never go online, the 'digitally excluded', whether by choice or due to lack of resources, not the percentage of people who simply can't access the net. Current gen fixed line broadband coverage is something over 98%, even more if you consider 3g etc.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And???

    What about those who are just about receiving 2mbs (although it drops on average twice a day), are we going to be bypassed... I know I am pushing my luck here, what with living 10 mins from the M25, I know, what am I thinking, sorry, I should just be happy with have electricity.

  19. A J Stiles
    Coat

    Hmm .....

    Am I the only person who thinks that providing universal broadband Internet is solving the wrong problem? And that we should be concentrating instead on making sure that Internet access simply never becomes a necessity in the first place?

    Instead of introducing broadband so that people in rural areas can benefit from Internet-only shopping deals, for instance, why aren't we insisting for businesses to make their goods available at the same price in bricks-and-mortar stores for the benefit of non-computer owners?

    Nobody should be obliged to own a computer. Making people dependent on toxic, proprietary technology in order to live their everyday lives is tantamount to privatising the Law of the Land.

    Oh well, back to my little shack in the woods .....

  20. M7S

    @Tom 15

    "people living in rural areas are generally more affluent than those in urban areas "

    Cobblers.

    Its just harder for Channel 4 journalists to spend a night posing as a down and out with a hidden camera in rural areas. There's more than enough poverty out here and the cost of living is higher in many ways. Next time someone in London moans about public transport, at least you've normally got some that normally runs more than twice a day and comes close than three miles to your house.

  21. Lionel Baden 1

    Jeez likeit !

    wouldnt mind if they would actually do the bloody work

    but i think as we all know they will tax us and then do a study in two years saying we dont want it anyway so they wont be installing it but the expensive planning did the managers well in the meantime .. oh and by the way the goverment will be keeping the leftover money

    Let me be the first to disagree I WANT IT NOW !!!!

  22. MinionZero
    Unhappy

    Oh ... great... thanks NuLabour...

    I love how NuLabour treats my bank account like their piggy bank. When they are finished giving my taxes to their Banker friends, their other friends in the broad band business want some cash as well, so NuLabour decide to dip in and grab some more cash from us all. Wonderful.

    Its not as if we don't pay (waste) enough money on taxes already ... but no, now they have to dream up some more reasons to just take more money from us.

    Maybe NuLabour wants better broadband in the country because they are getting ready to retire to the country, now they have robbed us all mercilessly for years.

  23. Michael Fremlins

    The benefits

    "The benefits we believe will be enormous," Carter said. I expect to BT they will be.

    What is the real difference between this and pre-privatisation BT?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A Shambles

    Though not unexpected.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More affluent country areas?

    What, like Devon, Wales and Scotland? Are you people nuts?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Handy for your 2nd home

    Thinking of getting a rural retreat with that city bonus? Put off by the lack of broadband?

    Worry no more - problem solved, courtesy of the taxpayer.

  27. Steven Jones

    Hypothecated tax

    Technically speaking this is hypothecation of a tax - or "hypothetical dedication" in full. That is money raised by taxation for a particular purpose - the TV license is another example. Historically the Treasury hate them - they much prefer all the money to disappear into a big pot so that they can spend it. The good news about this sort of thing is that at least the money will be spent on the stated service (assuming that admin costs don't get out of hand).

    To be brutal about this, it's a rural subsidy. It already goes on - postal services to rural areas are subsidised by deliveries into urban ones. Rural telephone lines cost a great deal more money to provide than urban ones, for the same reason that broadband is slower on the former (in general). Lines are longer, more poles/holes per telephone line, more capital expenditure per line, more places where there can be faults and less revenue. There's a reason why companies target their services at the locations they do.

    Frankly, if you want rural services at comparable prices to urban ones, then some form of cross-subsidy is inevitable. You can either make it explicit (by such things as levies) or you can bury it in the price tag to everybody else via universal service obligations.

    The real challenge is the next generation broadband - with Ofcom mandating wholesale prices at not much above costs (when finance costs are added in), then it's very difficult to work out how a wide-scale infrastructure uplift will be funded. As it is, the roll-out will be patchy and concentrated in those areas where it is cheaper first.

    Nb. - this won't be the last. The next one will no doubt be payphones. Mobiles killed the market for these and, if people still want them, then they are going to have to be financed some way. It will be interesting to know if Ofcom will tackle the mobile industry here - they get a very easy ride on termination charges where they are allowed to slap on charges about 5 times their costs whilst fixed line operators are allowed just a fraction of a penny per minute. Mobile phones are, to a considerable extent, subsidised by users of fixed lines...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sold everyone out to "the industry"!

    They have also sold everyone out by offering to supply names of serial copyright infringers to the rights holders directly.

    We all know the gov, OFCOM and the media industry can be trusted to play fair and get their facts right first time!

  29. Jonathan McColl
    Flame

    oooh you city slickers!

    We rich elitist country dwellers, or penniless bumpkin hayseed village idiots according to the commenters above, are not all millionaires like the London City guys who nearly broke the country and needed billions in bail-out money.

    We ordinary town or country dwellers earn a helluva lot less than those with city weightings and would like to use the internet as much as you guys who think milk grows on milk-trees. Oh, and I wear a tie to work, spent years in IT support, can use phones and stuff and have a television at home. Nor am I being subsidised by someone who thinks an Underground strike is the end of the world as we know it.

    Let's pull together and complain about ID cards, Paris Hilton and BT profits from Indian call centres going to their shareholders

  30. evilbob thebob
    Stop

    Rural areas...

    are definitely not affluent. Here I am in Shropshire, look out of my window into a village that is mainly council housing. This village is less than 2 miles from a mid sized market town. My 'broadband' doesn't go beyond 1.5Mbps. People saying this is the city funding the rural areas are wrong. It's just everyone funding BT.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    too little too late

    So in another 11 years the country will have average speeds of 2 MBit, that is about what we needed 5 years ago.

    This country is pushing itself (or being pushed by idiot politicians) into a 3rd world state.

    Most of northern europe already enjoys speeds up to 100 MBit.

    Also fibre to the cabinet is ok, but still provided a great copper bottleneck to the system....

    how far is the cabinet is going to be the new 'how far from the exchange'.

    I had a 24Mbit connection from Be a while ago, when i could not get more than 2, BT came and looked and proded the cabinet and told me that they had always had problems with the cabinet on my street...

    Also, when this has been talked about before BT said it would be approx 20 Billion quid, isn't that about what has been thrown away on the NHS system .... so why can't it be funded by EXISTING taxes instead of new ones.

    Its about time to move to the first world from this declining alcatraz of an island.

  32. Dominic Tristram
    Thumb Up

    Yet more tight-arse comments

    The comments on Reg articles often amaze me in their selfishness, and this is yet another example. How can people begrudge so little money to give people a benefit that we all take for granted? No, people in rural areas aren't all rich, and of course it costs more money to connect them up. Without a nationalised provider giving a fixed-price universal service (as we had in the good old days rolling-out telephones), these people are never going to get connected.

    What else do you object to? Should people who live in the countryside pay more to get their post delivered? Or what about their electricity? Maybe the council shouldn't bother building any roads for them until they pay ten times the road tax? Sheesh... what is it about living in London that makes you all into selfish twunts who value nothing but money?

  33. Someone

    Not ‘every’

    You make it sound as if Virgin Media customers could be walloped twice. The report specifically refers to a cable operator’s telephone line, not the broadband-delivering TV line. So, it looks like those with Virgin Media cable broadband but no telephone line would escape the supplement.

  34. Luther Blissett

    Get Carter!

    Carter also answers Andrew Orlowski's question today "Britain losing radio habit?". AM and FM would be killed off by 2015.

    Overall, if Carter were implemented, would it be case of never so many troughers in the corporate-fascist regime benefitting so much from one policy thrust at the expense of so many?

    And let's not forget another corporate beneficiary - this "broadband tax" looks a lot like a test run for a blanket revenue tax for the record companies.

    Talk about troughing politicians is one thing, but Carter looks like a plan for a guaranteed drip-feeding. Update: just hearing Carter on radio (FM) and unsurprisingly he sounds indistinguishable from a zanu liebore politician.

  35. Dave 142

    tax

    I don't mind paying tax, what I do mind is paying money through the government to service providers to do what they should have been doing anyway!

  36. Brutus

    Selfish twats

    There are some really selfish and ignorant people posting here!

    If they want broadband then move to the city? WTF? People living in the countryside are more affluent? Crap! Perhaps if we're talking about some parts of the home counties, but I'm fairly sure that the majority of people living in Northumberland or the Highlands and Islands of Scotland or deepest, darkest Devon would disagree.

    Perhaps all us city dwellers should refuse to pay for all those rural roads that we never drive on, too. Perhaps we should refuse to fund the few remaining cottage hospitals that we've never even seen, let alone needed.

    On the other hand, maybe those poor bloody farm labourers would like back that portion of their taxes that's funding all those feckless and work-shy inner city scum and providing a safety net for all those overpaid city workers that are losing their jobs!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hidden Agenda

    Come on boys and girls, get with the real story behind this.

    Not content with shoving ID cards on us all Labour now plan to stick a web cam in every home. Only to get the decent piccies they want they need a network pipe with the capacity to collect the information.

    The sooner we get shot of this lot the better. can't someone send them a packet of swine flu?

  38. Bug
    Thumb Down

    Bloody cheek

    So BT etc who have been creaming in the profits for years from over selling the same bandwidth to as many people as possible and blaming us when we try to use it. Now expect us to pay from them to extend their service so they can rip even more people off.

    Amazing not only do I now have to pay for bandwidth I don't get, I'm also going to have to pay so someone else can get limited broadband and the ISPs are going to sit back and enjoy the extra profits.

  39. Matt West
    Thumb Up

    Taxes

    I think the idea is that the tax will work like fuel tax. The suppliers set the price according to what the think the market will take, then the government take a chunk of that. If the tax didn't exist then the suppliers' profits would be higher; the price would not be any lower. This works because supply is somewhat limited.

    The Great British Public have been voting in favour of indirect taxation for the past 30 years, Labour have just carried on where the Tories left off. It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone campaigned on the promise of 'No Stealth Taxes, just a huge Income Tax'.

    I was shocked when I lived in Sheffield 10 years ago to meet people my age who were baffled and intimidated by computers. We cannot afford to have children growing up today who aren't comfortable with using computers and accessing the internet. Private enterprise has so far failed to provide decent internet access in rural areas and are disinterested in doing so in the future. Rural broadband could be a good long term investment for the country.

  40. Max Pritchard
    Heart

    Rural

    I am "happy" to report that there is a number of financially disadvantaged people in the village I live in. We're a few miles from the M40, so not geographically rural, but we get a maximum of 500kbps downstream on ADSL and the exchange is not unbundled and regardless of what Virgin Media's marketing team think - we're not in their cable area. Only Vodaphone gives us any mobile signal - and that's poor (one bar) - so mobile broadband is out. Digital TV is not great either - it keeps dropping out.

    The village is developing "social housing" and there are several sites in the village being considered by the parish council. You need a car to get anywhere which is expensive enough as it is (road charging would damage the ability for people to live here). The nearest farm shop is a mile and a half away and the nearest town is a few miles beyond that.

    I think that believing that people living in the country are generally more affluent is a little naive. I also think that believing research that says that people believe that Internet access is as important as electricity is also naive.

    I can see how it could help some of my older neighbours for online shopping with delivery - that's vital for them now we don't have local post offices or amenities. Also local government changes mean access to their web sites for support services is critical. As applications continue to appear online, then the digital divide will continue to get wider.

    Many of the people living here, particularly the poorer ones, have been in the village for generations and are now tied to the area by bonds of caring for elderly relatives, or because they cannot afford to move. They live in ex-council houses now run by a Housing Association. Perhaps not the image of the affluent country-set imagined by some urbanites.

    Because my local exchange will probably never be unbundled, I already pay £180 per year more than people in cities with access to "free" "up to 24Mbps" broadband - just to get 500kbps.

    My lifestyle allows me to get by with that capacity and I can afford it. I'm not that bothered about IPTV and I don't stream content or use P2P applications. Lucky me.

    To those people in the city complaining about subsidising connectivity improvements in rural areas, the money that I pay today is not being invested in new services for rural locations - it is going to subsidise the excellent service enjoyed by people in the cities. Thanks for your support.

    I am happy to pay a bit more for my copper service to make sure that my poorer neighbours can get access to a reasonable suite of communication services. I think it will help prevent rural communities being increasingly seen as the sole preserve of the wealthy who are able to afford to drive and fend for themselves.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What did these rural people do to get a phone line?

    Did they pay or did BT provide one for free?

    Anyhow, I digress. A Phone tax. great. And once everyone has broadband, the BBC will be allowed to collect licence fees for internet connected people. And, as everyone will be connected, the "non-user" will be conveniently forgotten (just like non-watchers nowadays) and you will fall into the usual 2 camps...Licence fee payers and Licence fee evaders.

    We will all learn to fear that knock on the door again.

  42. LuMan
    Stop

    @M7S

    That may well be true, but remember you do still have the right to move to an area where there is a bus service that's reliable and close to your home, as well as a broadband connection.

    The point here is that no-one 'put' you where you live. No-one 'forces' you to stay there. No-one (and I apologise for the bluntness here) commenting here really cares about you. Nothing personal, really.

    But I think I (and I daresay others) have a right to be affronted by a bloody 'tax' levy so folk living outside of a service area can have access to a service we already pay not an inconsiderable amount of money for.

  43. Justin Case
    Flame

    Our Great Leader...

    ...said that alongside water and electricity, broadband is one of life's essentials.

    Here's an experiment for you. Take 3 cabinet ministers and deprive one of them of water, one of electricity and one of broadband and see which one dies first. If necessary take the whole parliamentary nu-lab party and repeat until absolutely sure, or all are dead, however long it takes.

  44. Bill Bennett

    @Fraser

    Bog off.

    Why the hell should I pay for something for someone else?

    If the underpriveleged country bumpkins wanted more than the 512kb/s they can get now, they'd have bought satellite broadband. Or lots of amalgamated BT Home Highway lines ;-)

  45. Jedi Name Germinator

    Do people still use landlines?

    From what I've read those who have a home phone are to pay the tax - So if you got a mobile as your main phone and say cable internet you're not gonna pay?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    QQ moar

    waaah waaah went the townies....

    Because without this, country folks haven't been been funding your super duper fast broadband for years which they have no chance in hell of benefiting from now would they, and it wouldn't really have continued now would it.?

    Kind of like the crap loads of council tax we pay for the priviledge of NOT receiving the services townies do, higher fuel prices than in towns, and we get to have only one bus a week 3/4 mile away... post that arrives at 2 in the afternoon, heck ho wants it in the morning eh.. Higher fuel prices out here too, because with no bus services having a car is flipping luxury of course, you don't really need to leave the house do you ....... *snip*

  47. Simon Williams
    Thumb Up

    Subsidies eh?

    Having subsidised those bonus-stealing, expense-stuffed, twin-home city dwellers with their calf-skin pouched iPhones tucked into the gloove boxes of their Lexus GSes for the last 10 years, the possibility of getting a portion of it back to my 480Kbps-on-a-good-day, no-mobile-coverage hovel just three miles from the main Exeter to Plymouth trunk route fills me with glee. Stuff you all.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jam tomorrow

    I live in the countryside beyond the reach of conventional broadband, so ought to welcome this, but there is a good chance I will be dead by the time this scheme is actually built. I'll certainly be over 70. But I will probably be around to pay the taxes for it, the next however many years.

    Remember how they stopped calling the car license fee the "road fund tax" once people realized that the money wasn't being spent on the roads? The government just got their foot in the door to tax telecoms forever, and the rate will go up and up.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They better not trough this

    in the grand scheme of things it is not much, I would actually prefer they ask for donations and pop up a link to businesses and individuals donating money, for this and this alone.

    Then the money should be tracked, every penny of it.

  50. Nick Kew

    superhighway vs country lanes

    This is a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of providing roads to rural areas! And it's in the same category as the 'phone.

    But my requirement isn't high-speed fiber. Just a *guarantee* of ADSL service levels, and most importantly unmetered access. OK with fiber I could run a server from home, but the fact I have to host it elsewhere isn't exactly major social exclusion.

    Using the road analogy, country lanes are just fine!

  51. Nick Kew

    @A J Stiles

    I think you miss the point. There are very, very few people who can't use a computer, but many more for whom physical travel to a bricks-and-mortar shop presents difficulties. Net access is a huge enabler. A universal broadband promise makes a lot more sense than, for example, requiring wheelchair ramps in medieval churches!

  52. Grease Monkey
    Thumb Down

    The Tax

    Didn't I read on this very site recently that 30% of the population have no intention of ever getting broadband or indeed connected to the internet in any way? Why should these people pay £6 a year to subsidise broadband for those who do want broadband?

    Or are they in typical labour fashion is this yet another stealth tax? I'd like to see evidence that 100% of the levy goes to telcos and that they spend 100% of it on delivering rural broadband. More likely the government will keep a huge chunk for "administration" and then the telcos will spend what they do get on improving urban broadband.

    A better way to achieve the stated end is to make the telcos pay. There must be some way of controlling customer numbers. Maybe set a ratio of urban to rural customers that they must maintain.

    This smacks of the recording industriy's proposed broadband tax. They wanted to tax all broadband subscribers to compensate them for pirated music. That worked on the assumption that all broadband users are pirates. This tax works on the assumption that all landline telephone users want broadband.

    And of course it's likely to force businesses onto VoIP much more quickly if they have to pay an extra £6 per landline per year. Which will of course mean a reduction in revenue for the telcos which will in turn mean less money to spend on developing broadband, and probably a few more people laid off in the telecoms industry.

    All in all it appears that they've thought this one through for less time than those eejits who proposed taxing the oil companies to bring down petrol prices.

    As you say it looks like the government have heard the complaints about the lack of rural broadband and decided to create a headline grabbing initiative that will make it look like they are doing something and make them some tax revenue in the mean time.

  53. George Jenkins

    Once everyone has broadband...

    ...I guess we can all be confident the tax will be removed..

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unhelpful 50p surcharge

    Does nothing to encourage innovative local solutions to providing high speed access in remote areas. see http://www.tegola.org.uk/wiki/index.php/Main_Page for example

  55. dephormation.org.uk
    Flame

    Why should I bail out BT shareholders?

    This is a stupid idea.

    Why should the nation bail out BT shareholders because BT can't operate or invest in its own infrastructure?

    Thank goodness Carter won't be around in a few weeks.

    Its a shame I will never be able to recover the time I wasted reading the Digital Britain report.

  56. steogede

    What is the point.

    Going to all this work to raise less than 2p per day, per household. Is the government really that cash strapped (well, okay, I suppose they are).

    I would mind so much if it wasn't just 2 m/bit adsl - I'd be quite happy to pay for something that had a little future proof ability. As Lan ser said, £50 a year investment for 10gbps - heck for 10mbps - sounds much better.

    Yes it is a stealth tax, but only because you wouldn't notice it if they weren't shouting about it at the top of their voices.

  57. Paul 190

    @M7S

    At least you've got internet.

  58. c-side
    Thumb Down

    The Final Third

    It seems that the rural dwellers will be paying the subsidy for up to five years longer without a sniff of improvement. At least the urbanites will get the improved speeds by 2012 for their extra money.

    Since we don't have a state run GPO anymore who will end up owning the infrastructure - oh I know the privately owned companies who will then use it to carry other services as they feel fit leading to congestion and a fantastic bitrate with no packet room.

  59. Chris Matchett
    Thumb Down

    50p per person per month is not a small tax

    and much better spent on health and/or education.

    I'm really not happy about taxes funding private companies such as BT.

    Exactly how much of this #digitalbritain was about Britain and not pandering to corporations?

  60. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  61. Blubster
    Stop

    Of course, the real reason..

    why Noo Labour are wanting everyone to have a broadband connection is so that they can keep tabs on us all by spying on the websites we visit, the phone calls we make etc. etc.

  62. David Ramsay
    IT Angle

    Kill a few birds

    Now lets see, it is going to be raised on a fixed line - oops - return it and just use a mobile. BT goes broke cause no one has a phone line any longer!

    By the time we get to 2012 the speed requirement will be 1Gb/sec so all the planning and infrastructure should be to get fibre to every home - half measures will take years and be of little use by the time it does arrive.

    Finally lets see I am capped at 20GB per month, a 100Mb/sec line would last how long? A 100Mb/sec line will require a 20 fold increase in the cap AKA 400GB per month. Multiply that by 20 million homes, that is 8Million Tera Byte (is that a Peta Byte - can't remember) per month, boy is that going to cause the backbone a problem!

    Mind you I doubt GCHQ could handle that so maybe the thought of deep packet inspection etc will fall by the wayside! (Some hope).

  63. Nic 3
    Thumb Up

    @A J Stiles

    ------------------

    Am I the only person who thinks that providing universal broadband Internet is solving the wrong problem? And that we should be concentrating instead on making sure that Internet access simply never becomes a necessity in the first place?

    ------------------

    Same goes for the Telephone and Television surely?

    I think allowing access to arguably one of the greatest inventions of modern times is not a requirement for shopping but surely a right for everyone?

    Anyway, I am for the levy if only because I want a faster connection than my 2ish MB ADSL.

    Yes I live in the sticks, yes it was my choice. No I can't afford to have BT run a fiber line to the exchange just for me.

    Evening up Broadband access will benefit us all in terms of commerce but then I would say that, I'm a Web Developer!

  64. Gaz 2

    Not sure how I feel about this one

    On one hand its a crap time to be squeezing more money out of people. Even a pittance like this adds up with the other increases like council tax.

    Then again our infrastructure DOES badly need upgrading. Also don't see the big deal about subsidizing rural areas. We all pay for things that we may not individually use (and vice versa) but benefit society or others collectively.

    Maybe the apathy is finally getting to me sigh...

  65. John H Woods

    I don't even want a fixed line ...

    ... why are we all pretending high speed wireless isn't the answer?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm a celebrity - get me outta here!

    Well I'm not really a celebrity, so there.

    What a prize plonker that Brown git is. We have 2 phone lines currently. As a direct result of this additional tax we'll shortly have none.

    On the one hand we can get by with a mobile phone (we don't use phones of any description very much). On the other we'll just use the broadband we've already got to run a Skype account. Which others who will be contributing their cash can help pay for.

    And so it came to pass that Labour passed a law which reduced the profitability of landline phone companies. Own goal ref!

    We need that pop sound re-made. What was it - Gordon is a moron? Sad to say that with him in charge it gives morons a bad name.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT

    Rather than tax people just get BT out of the picture, they're the cause of all the problems.

  68. AceRimmer
    Thumb Up

    It should be provided like gas

    A lot of rural areas aren't on gas mains either. So people who want gas get a big tank which is filled up every now and again by an even bigger gas truck.

    Rather than running high speed internet to these areas, simply send them a couple of DVDs each month with the lastest internet page updates and any emails they've been sent

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    50p now...

    people forget, a telephone line and internet is not your right to have... its a service thats provided by a company that is there to make profit, it has to cost less to provide that service than they charge, or it has to close down. thats the same with any business....

    i moved into a flat a few years back, to get my phone line installed, it cost me £99+vat... for some bloke to turn up.... put a new socket on the wall coz the old one was broke...

    more or less at the same time a friend of mine moved into a cottage in the middle of nowhere... they ordered a phone line.... £99+vat for 15 telegraph poles, over 1.5 miles of cable.... a weeks work for the engineers....

    Within a few months, no doubts BT recovered the cost of my instalation,,, if they were not in profit on it in the first place... but i suspect they will bever recover the cost of installing one line to a rural house...

    I suspect that even with the 50p tax, the cost of providing better bb to the back of nowhere will soon spiral out of control, and the tax will soon be up to £2 then where will it stop? £5? £10? all I know is that if the whole country gets 24Mbit or faster, the backbone will not cope with it all, then the gov will be dipping into our pockets again...

    Mines the one stuffed with FO cables...

  70. n 5
    Stop

    right on time....(3 week cycles appearing regularly now)

    Told you a BT pension fund bailout was coming.....i thought they would have packaged it with better lies. silly me.

  71. Trevor Woolnough
    Paris Hilton

    Hypothecated tax

    No I don't think so. Its a subsidy for BT if anything, or its as hypothecated as the car tax disc, which is not at all. The big businesses have the governments ear, thats the way it works in this country now. Now I live in London my rates are £500 a year as opposed to £2000 in Suffolk. But then I dont have a garden. Life is a compromise, you cant have it all. How an earth the principle of the free market in broadband provision can be reconciled with a compulsory tax beats me. Paris as she could beat me...

  72. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Not happy about this....

    I live in a place with excellent broadband links. I can choose between Virgin Media (up to 50MB), one of the various BT line options (up to 16MB), mobile broadband from any of the major 3G providers, or satellite broadband. Or I could steal a neighbour's unencrypted wifi. The choice is mine.

    Clearly, I have this choice because I chose to live in Suburbia. I also have local shops and a main line train station a few minutes walk from my house. I can access a major motorway within a few minutes, and all the roads around here are paved (potholes excluded).

    Why should I subsidise someone else's broadband when mine is working perfectly? Seeing as I already pay a premium for my premium services, why should the government decide it's ok for me to pay an extra £6 a year so some farmer in the middle of nowhere can whack off to porn on the web?

    Like it or not, people in built up communities have best connections for everything. But we also tend to have the highest crime, more air pollution and highest council tax. Perhaps the Government can lobby a new tax to right these wrongs?

  73. The Mighty Spang
    Flame

    WTF is this crap

    they can afford to live in the country but apparantly can't afford to pay for the costs of installing a service they want. I (living in a city) have to pay for it.

    hey i wanna live in the country. can we tax people who live in the country so i can live in the country too? then if more people lived in the country then there would be internet access.

    i'd like fresh air and trees and peace and quiet. apparantly that helps you live longer. but no I'VE GOT TO PAY FOR FACEBOOK ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE THIS. the only upside to this is because i don't have fresh air and stuff i'll be paying that £6 a year extra for less years because I'll be dead.

    quite why we have to pay for these moaning fuckers i don't know. your business/life depends on internet access? move a damn inhabited area. i heard some whinging bint on radio 4 moaning on about this, she runs a business from home. in the country. well all the damn money she saves on petrol should pay for a fibre line, no?

    lets put to some analysis. living in country = probably well off = country set = mix with MP = able to buy agreeable dinners for said MP or provide him with fraudulent receipts = MP lobbies on your behalf = every sod in the country pays an extra £6 a year except MPs who get it on expenses.

    these hay chewing buggers are always whinging on about stuff costing more, like fuel for their 4x4s cause they need it cause zey lives in zee coontry. Are we proposing adding £6 a year on road tax to pay for fuel for them? nope because its a damn lifestly choice. can't afford the rent? dont live there. can't afford the fuel? dont live there. want to run a business in the middle of nowhere and need internet access? yeah lets tax everybody.

    fuckers.

  74. Charles Manning

    Do the rural folk actually want this?

    I live rurally, in NZ, not UK, and I have a 2Mbps terrestrial radio link. This is more than enough for me and my family and I'm a software developer.

    Apart from farmers with kids wanting to play online games, the farmers I know do fine with 56k dial up (well what's left after electric fences distort the signal). I used to manage pretty well on 56k dial up too: start a kernel download, go mow lawn, chainsaw a couple of trees etc and the download has completed).

    If you want fibre speeds then move to town!

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    *sigh*

    I like the fact that people believe this will go towards Fiber Optics cabling for faster internet.

    What a load of crap ...

    We all know this is just money that'll end up in Gordon's back pocket.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    HELL NO!

    What, considering that BT's wasted so much money on giving cities what they want but don't bother looking at those who really could use it but can't because they are out in the sticks, and considering BT's rape that is the monthly fee for a line I don't ever make calls on... screw that!

  77. Mark 133
    Thumb Down

    Wait a minute...

    Hang on, I live in East London in essentially a bunker, I have to get both my telly and internet through the phone line, which is about as far away as it is possible to get from the exchange, and I can't get cable because they cabled up the area before my flat technically existed, so my line speed is atrocious (and I have to deal with bloody Tiscali)...

    ...and now I have to pay an extra fiddy pee a month to provide 2 Meg broadband to a people out in the sticks who have not expressed a collective desire for broadband in the first place?

    The only words I have are two, and the second of them is 'off'.

  78. Mark 65

    two things...

    1. It's not a stealth tax, it's a pretty bloody upfront forewarned one. In case you're wondering, City infrastructure generally subsidises rural pretty much anywhere in the World. This just puts a figure on it.

    2. The subsidy should result in part-ownership by the state. If the Govt. is collecting a tax and subsidising this infrastructure building with it then it should own a proportionate share with all the revenue associated. If this doesn't happen then the scheme is truly taking the piss.

  79. da bomb
    Thumb Down

    An infringement of your civil Liberty and the freedom of speech.

    Forget what they are allegedly intending to spend the money on, its a TAX, not even a tax set at a fixed percentage, a made up figure, with no cap which means they can raise it as they please.

    Make no mistake, they are taxing your freedom of speech, your link with the rest of the world, they are creating a Telecommunications class system of the Haves and Have nots, if i choose an ISP thats my choice, but once Tax is introduced, payment is compulsory.

    Another creeping erosion of our Civil Liberties, this time apparently for a faster connection speed.............Go take a hike Gordon.

  80. crowley131
    Stop

    Competition.... not in bloody Hull

    "The former Ofcom boss said strong competition in the ADSL market had driven broadband prices down and that he expected the impact of the levy to be "competed away"."

    So i wont have to pay the £6 a year, because i live in Hull which has Karoo as the ONLY ISP available, therefore there is no competition?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Just my 0.02Cr's-worth

    50p per landline to install more landlines to get 50p per landline to install more landlines - wow, Gordon's finally found his perpetual-motion money-making machine!... And what's the odds that they will need to keep the tax going once everyone is cabled up? I mean, they've got to pay for the running of the service, and since it is already in place it won't cost any more to keep collecting it.

    I'd like to believe that the "fighting" between the townies and the bumpkins is all light-hearted and jovial, but sadly I don't think it is. Yes, there are some people who choose to live out in the "middle of nowhere" and have a pile of money to live on. But then there are a lot of people in the country who no longer have jobs due to the demise of farming, same as a lot of townies no longer have jobs because all the factories have shut. Industrialization killed a lot of the old jobs (why pay a dozen car assemblers and fitters when one robot will do the same work for a tiny fraction of the cost, and why pay a dozen people to work on a dozen farms when modern machinery can harvest more crops far more efficiently?) and the government is even doing away with the only real alternative to these 'traditional' jobs - the armed forces are being decimated too. Actually, it's worse than that - "decimation" dates back to the Roman Empire and referes to the killing of every tenth man. Our current manpower levels are down to what, half of the WWll levels? And they've killed off, sorry, "amalgamated" dozens of regiments going back centuries into five or six units with no regard for the esprit de corps that made our forces the best in the world.

    I remember reading a few years(!) ago about how certain African nations were rolling out wireless broadband, and wouldn't it be great if the USA and the UK could do the same but that it would cost too much to replace the existing cable infrastructure with the (then) new wireless tech. Well, wouldn't this be an ideal time to force BT to replace the cables with wireless? I mean, if the Labour Minister for Overseas Development (or was it 'Overseas Aid' at that time?) thought that was such a great idea that we had to spend billions of OUR taxes to help fund it, why don't they have it done over here too?

    Finally, do we really want to allow the Party that has brought in the worst anti-privacy legislation in the world to dictate that we must all have 24hr broadband "coverage"? Are all those stories of geeks catching criminals nicking their computers by 'remote controlling' their webcams merely urban legends? How long before it becomes a crime to switch off your computer, or cover the webcams? I know Ben Elton is (was?) a Labour supporter, but I didn't realise they would take his book "Blind Faith" as a starting point for their IT manifesto...

    Piracy, pure and simple. First they take the 50p a month (which will have to increase quite quickly - how many government-related IT projects have run to time and/or budget?), then they will be able to track everytihng you access (RIPA, the new "security" database, etc) and then it will be too late.

    (by the way, notice how GodEmperor Gordon Brown has suddenly gone quiet on the "electoral reform" front? He's just working the required legislation through his lawyers, then he'll force it through Parliament under the Parliament Act, so nobody can stop him from Westminster. There are plenty of laws he can use to stop 'the people' rising up in protest - or did you seriously think that the anti-terror and anti-conspiracy legislation was solely aimed at 'furriners' intent on overthrowing truth, Justice and the ZaNu Labour way? And of course, we won't be able to have a General Election while his reforms are going through the books, so no getting rid of him come next summer. You think I am wrong? Just wait and see... and be afraid. VERY afraid)

  82. mmiied

    ok but

    if we pay for it we want to own it

    in other word

    if the tax payer funds it the tax payer should run it and set acces prices for it at a levle that is good for the country and the profets get funnled back into gov or infrusture

  83. Roger Pearse

    How naive you all are

    This new tax -- soon to be increased -- will "fund rural broadband"? Like road tax funds roads, perhaps?

    Face it. It's just a new tax, to go straight into the bottomless maw of wasteful government. Get ready to be screwed.

  84. Callum
    Alert

    Scotland being double charged!

    So hang on a second - why, as a Scot am I being taxed for rural broadband access when the Scottish Government have already committed to 100% broadband access for all Scots (including the highlands and islands) that has already been paid for by my taxes. The project, paid for from Scottish ministers and contracted to BT/Avanti is nearing completion after being started in 2008...

    see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/BroadbandforScotland for more info.

  85. Max Pritchard
    Heart

    @AceRimmer

    You can't get better download capacity than a truck full of DVDs *8). The latency sucks though, my ping's through the floor.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Luman

    "The point here is that no-one 'put' you where you live. No-one 'forces' you to stay there. No-one (and I apologise for the bluntness here) commenting here really cares about you. Nothing personal, really."

    Seriously, WTF? You seem to have a bit of a blind spot for reality & the current housing market. Quite a lot of people were *put* where they live, as they were born there. And people are *forced* to stay there because they can't afford to move. Not to mention the idiocy of suggesting somebody move, just to get better broadband, a possibility if you're renting, but no one is going to sell up and move just for that.

  87. Chris Parsons

    @Mighty Spang

    So, practise what you preach and go and live there. I have lived in the country all my life. We love opinionated loud-mouths...you will enjoy it.

  88. Lan ser

    @All the selfish twats

    NHS I am fortunate enough to be fit and well and rarely see a doctor let alone go to a hospital so why should I subsidise all the scroungers that do?

    I live in the country and drive to work along a pot-holed country road so why should I subsidise motorways etc?

    To those who said I didn't pay for the original 60's BT landline to my house well neither did any towney.

    What do I do in the country? I provide the food that you eat, so lets tell everyone to move to the towns so they can get the same standard of living and watch everyone starve.

    @Charles

    So what about NZ you are one, I know a few more who would die for better than 2Mbps and what about in 5-10 years time will that 2Mbps still be enough? Could you still manage now with a 14.4 connection?

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all stupid

    At a rate of 100Mbs, I can get through my monthly 25 Gig allowance in half an hour.

    Personally, I say limit everyone to 5Mbs and ease the choking of the pods by the nutters who download the crazy large files.

  90. Tony S

    The beginning of wisdom...

    ..is the statement "I do not know".

    However, I would suggest based upon some of the postings that many of the respondants rejoice in their ignorance.

    The idea of a forum is to share ideas and by presenting a structured argument, allow people to build a consensus. Yet there are clearly people so entrenched in their views that there seems little hope of ever conducting a sensible exchange. What is most worrying to me is that these people are allowed to vote, and so help to change what happens in the future even though they are apparently unable to think further than the next meal.

    The idea of a "National" structure means that it underpins the whole of the country. That does not mean a few isolated pockets where people concentrate. If people want a mobile phone to work, it requires a national network of masts for mobile phones. These are underpinned by a national network of phone and broadband lines.

    If those in cities want clean water, they need a national network of pipes - most of the water comes from a rural area. The waste water then has to be taken away - and where does that go and how does it get there? What about your electric - are any of the power stations within a built up area, or are they out in the country? And of the course the power reaches you via a national network of power lines.

    What about international phones connections - yes there are some small satellite dishes, but most of the international traffic is handled by feeds through huge dish arrays or fibre cables that are located in a rural area - without these, we would be back to the days of having to book an overseas connection hours in advance as it used to be back in the decades before the 70's.

    And what about your TV pictures - yes there are those that now use the Astra satelites, but over 70% of the population still use digital or analogue signals from a terrestrial feed - and the network of masts, mostly in rural areas allows you access wherever you are in the country. Many of these also act as links for other services without which we would all be in trouble.

  91. Zimmer

    Infrastructure

    This is what happens when you put the country's utilities in private hands. They run it for profit, not long term benefits to the country as a whole.

    Once serious money is needed to upgrade (whether it be telecoms or power stations or water supplies) they will run to the government (and that means the taxpayers) for the cash because 'they' have none to spend.

    Privatisation of utilities appears to have only resulted in 'shareholders' making money off the back of taxpayers' previous investment and looks to continue until the infrastructure collapses or the taxpayer stumps up more to keep them in business...

  92. Mark 108
    Thumb Up

    Compromise

    There are about 60 million of us on our little island and it's unfortunate, but each and every one of use cant pick and choose our own taxation/benefit system. There are some compromises required.

    I work in a city and live in the countryside and surprise, surprise there are extremes of poverty and wealth to be seen in both areas.

    Maybe if doing business was made a little easier in the sticks everyone wouldn't need to flock to the cities each day.

  93. Fredly

    @ Callum

    Scotland isn't being double charged - you haven't even paid in the first place. English taxpayers have paid for your broadband access. Do some research about where your funding comes from.

  94. Roger Jenkins

    The Oz model.

    I rather like the way the Aust. model seems to be headed.

    The Govt. will start a private company that will use Tax payers money to fund FTTH. The Govt. intends holding a 50% shareholding in said company.

    For the existing telcos to gain a slice of the remaining 50% they must kick in network resources. For instance, Telstra the post privatised telco are being urged to toss in some existing cables, conduits, trunk routes etc., Optus, their existing cable network or part thereof. In return they get shares in the new company. You get the picture.

    As time goes by, it's expected that the debt to the taxpayer will be paid off from profits (the new company is strictly a wholesaler), at that point the govt. will withdraw from the company and sell its shares.

    It's an interesting proposition and if done properly will work (it remains to be seen if a Govt. can ever make it work).

    The aim of the exercise is to get fibre to approx 99% of homes with the balance served by mobile phone telcos and two way satellite (hopefully with reasonable speed and large caps).

    The major reason for doing it this way is, after privatising telstra we ended up with a private company monopoly that could pretty much do as it wished, much the same as happened in UK with BT.

    To break that monopoly would cost the govt. a fortune in compensation to Telstra.

    Doing it this way Telstra have a choice, give the new company network assets and become a part of the fibre to the home business, or, stay out of it and do their own thing , very risky, most homes will have a fibre and a copper line and Telstra would have to pay the wholesaler for access to the fibre.

    There is also talk of Telstra and others having to give up shares of the satellite/cable tv business to qualify for 'admission' into the new company, the reason being that they can't then do as suggested by a poster above, reserve bandwidth for the cable/internet TV customers at the expense of general internet users.

    Yes, this still means that the taxpayer will subsidise the rural user. But, if it works, it will, in the end cost the taxpayer nothing. (That's the hope anyway).

  95. Bernie 2

    Re: A J Stiles

    "Instead of introducing broadband so that people in rural areas can benefit from Internet-only shopping deals, for instance, why aren't we insisting for businesses to make their goods available at the same price in bricks-and-mortar stores for the benefit of non-computer owners?"

    Because that's just stupid.

    Do you not understand that goods are cheaper online because a warehouse + website is cheaper to run than a store?

    If someone said "you have to sell things in store for the same price you do online" they'd just put the prices up online and your good intentions would mean thousands of people suffer.

  96. g e

    So.

    Do I get free carrots or organic cider in return?

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T****rs

    Sorry about the title, er, no not really.

    You obviously have no idea of 'how tax works' or 'What its like to live in the country as a normal person'

    Luman - I live in the sticks, an hours drive from work, partly out of choice, partly out of NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD A HOUSE ANY CLOSER. I am not the only one. I guess you and others think everyone out here is loaded, and can just up sticks and move to where the services are better. B***ks. We pay our taxes, my shouldn't we have the same level of service? (and the level we get, not just in broadband, is well below what people in cities get)

    As for not wanting to pay tax to subsidise people in the country. That shows a great misunderstanding on how tax works. Everyone pays, everyone receives the benefit. Equally. What about the army - do you think you should be exempt from paying for part of the army because they are also required to defend the countryside? Do you only want to pay for the bit that defends your house/24mbit connection? Do you only want to pay for road upkeep outside your house? Leaving the rest of the country to slide in to disrepair? Probably, because you are a selfish tosser, typical of the current generation, who have led the country and the world in to recession.

  98. MikeHunt

    Expenses

    maybe we could sneak the payments through on expenses...

  99. floweracre
    Paris Hilton

    Keeping up with the Jones's

    We run our business on Virgin 2Mb cable. It works fine and is completely fast enough for all our needs.

    Sure we dont have hundreds of users, just half a dozen.

    And sure the upload speeds are a bt slow, too slow to host stuff (which I dont think they really like anyhow).

    Maybe for us all to watch hd streaming tv we'd need more.. but we are a bsiness doing business tasks.... and its enough.

    All this "we need 100Mb" - why?

    Tony

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some readjustments

    OK, that's fine. Let's abolish special treatment for remote areas.

    All those of us dwelling in the rural northern half of the UK don't need landline-based broadband. We can go for satellite.

    Perhaps we should cut off the South of England entirely, anyway. And stop oil supplies from the North Sea. Refine it in Grangemouth and stop subsidised exports to the South.

    Perhaps we should cut off water supplies to the London area -- or multiply the cost 1000X -- it's expensive stuff to transport.

    And we should definitely cut off the electricity grid somewhere around the Scottish border. Scotland produces far more electricity than it needs. Electricity's expensive to transport, anyway, isn't it? Alternatively at least charge 100X per unit of electricity to London.

    Seriously, the London whingers are depressing. Makes one want to avoid the place like the plague. Certainly for international travel, I'd go a long way to avoid London -- much better to use Amsterdam as a hub.

    Cities are, by their nature, parasitical entities, incapable of sustaining themselves in terms of basic needs like food, water, power etc. And generally incapable even of sustaining their population by any means other than importing humans not born within them -- they're incapable of breeding in sufficient quantities to keep up numbers otherwise.

    If city-dwellers want what they can't produce themselves, then either let them pay the realistic cost directly or let them be part of a wider community which allows a reasonable standard of living to those outwith the cities.

  101. A J Stiles
    Flame

    @ Bernie 2

    You have fail to understand my point.

    A warehouse and website are cheaper to run than a store, for sure. Stealing is cheaper than buying, as well. What's your point?

    Discriminating against non-computer owners is wrong. If the practical upshot of ending that discrimination is that goods online become more expensive, tough titty I say. At least that way, people who don't want to risk being held to ransom by greedy corporations peddling proprietary technology won't have to pay more for their basic essentials of life. That's got to be better than being forced to enrich billionaires.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    now

    Now for me, 50p a month is nothing - I lose more then that down the back of the sofa a year - I do have issue with my money going to basterd companies I don't like and don't want to give money but have to becouse there's no other choice (BT), but I can get past that, I don't really care.

    However for people who don't earn much, are on benefits, low income part time jobs, pensioners, etc - this is just another unfair and unjust burden to go with a whole range of other pressures on their finances.

    We already pay BT a vast amount of money, they have more or less all of us by the balls, why should they get anymore public money? Alot like the blasted rail companies.

    As to the "I pay my taxes" so what? BT isn't a public company, they do what they do for their bottom figure, why should the public give BT money to make BT more money at our expense? Are BT and other networks going to pay us back once they're raking in the cash?

    Better idea, scrap ID cards, message interception and trident, then spend the 39 odd billion quid on improving the network. Let's face it we're not a super power and should stop pretending that we are, maybe a minor power? Possibly not even that...

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    so what?

    I no longer have a landline - I use voip or my mobile.

    As for all the moaning minnies with their "stealth tax" rubbish, its six quid a year- the same dopes probably spend more than that each week on lottery tickets, driving to the corner shop and running their quad-core dual sli enabled internet browsers. Still, why let facts get in the way of a good rant eh?

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @so what?

    Do you have cable then? If not and you're using ADSL then you do have a landline, you just don't use the telephone part of it.

  105. Andus McCoatover
    Happy

    God, I wish I was back living in NuZimbabwe!

    You lucky b'stards - only 50 pence a month for broadband. I pay 20 squids.

    Or, did I miss something?

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    WTF!

    So Mr Brown and his cronies are now taxing everyone with a BT landline in order to create the world’s largest pirate ship (UK).

    Does this mean that we will now have to change our national flag to the Jolly Roger?

    There they be captain off the Starboard bow. (RIAA/MPAA) Argh give em a broadside lads. prepare to repel borders.

    Avast they be getting closer! Turn the VPN on em lads.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait...

    For all you fools to get taxed to subsidise my ludicrous city centre sheep farming.

  108. Carl Thomas

    Few Things

    @Andus this is an additional 50p/mth tax on all landlines.

    @Various anonymous posters, it's not about the amount it's the principle. This is not following the Australian model and improving services for everyone, it's about at most 30% of the population who will benefit from 100% of the population paying to improve their services.

    Also read the thread, it's not about increasing broadband availability or about providing at least 2Mbps to everywhere, it's about increasing that 2Mbps to 'next generation' speeds.

    This will not benefit everyone, won't benefit any more than 30% of the population infact, and is a very direct subsidy.

    Last people claiming that rural users subsidise urban ones, you don't. BT have lower costs in urban areas which is why urban areas get things earlier and BT are entitled to charge less due to these lower costs. You also do not subsidise LLU options in any way, where LLU is available in more remote areas it is subsidised by urban areas and backhauls chained from them.

    Natural resources wise of course cities consume more than they might provide, in basically every other way they are the engine of the economy, that's a simple fact. The South East of England (specifically mentioned) could exist without relying on the rest of the country, paying market rates for water, electricity, etc, the rest of the country would seriously be harmed financially by losing the South East.

    Name GDP percapita

    Greater London £30,385

    South East £22,624

    East £20,524

    Scotland £19,152

    Also the South East and London area is the most densely populated and easiest to wire part of the country by some way on a regional basis - the South East is more densely populated than Japan at 419 people per sq km, compare this with Scotland's 65 people per sq km and it's not rocket science to understand why coverage is as it is.

    A more shocking story to be honest is that London doesn't have fibre to the home to any scale given that it has a higher population density than most cities and at 4,758 people per sq km isn't that far off such places as Tokyo.

  109. LuMan
    Stop

    @ACs - 08:43 & 10:35

    Chaps (I'm assuming you're chaps, apologies if not), you're missing the point here. Yes, I'm happy to pay the same tax as everyone else for all the services that we all should be entitled to; roads, sanitation, armed forces, etc. The issue is that some people WON'T be subject to the tax because they do not yet HAVE broadband (or phone lines in some cases). If the whole country were forced to pay the tax so that the whole country HAS the service, then so be it. But to be discriminated against because I can access something that someone else decided to install in my area is totally unacceptable. I bet those of you living in rural areas would be horrified if you had to pay a 'spread the countryside' tax so those of us inner-city dwellers, exempt from the tax, could have more greenery installed.

  110. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Farmer Palmer has a message for you townies

    Get off my land.

    That is all.

  111. W

    @ Carl Thomas

    >"The South East of England [...] could exist without relying on the rest of the country, paying market rates for water, electricity, etc. [...]"

    Hurrah! I'm up for drawing up a border from The Severn to The Wash if it rids us sane folk of short-sighted chumps like you.

    FYI: GDP is not the be all and end all.

    E.g. Scotland does well in some ways, but does not get special treatment within the UK. With pockets of deprivation, one-third of the UK's land-mass, and far-flung communities, it receives an average of £9631 public money state spending per head. Which is less than London's, at £9748.

  112. BallyG

    £6 cheaper than turning off FM

    The £6 per year tax is nothing compared with the cost of turning off FM. What cost 3 car radios, 3 mobile phones, 3 hifis, 2 portable radios? As I travel in a hilly area and live behind a hill, I can expect no radio judging from my experience with freeview which has been a sick joke.

  113. YouStupidBoy
    Flame

    So what I want to know is...

    When they've taken my money and given it to privately held companies, who will then turn around and flog a service that OUR tax money paid for, thereby generating a profit for themselves - how exactly do I get a return on my investment?

    If the government wants broadband to be available across the country, mandate it by law. It is not my concern (and should remain that way) how the various telecos/broadband providers choose to comply with this. It seems that this is analogous to raising a cow from birth to full maturity using my own funds, then giving it away to McDonalds and having them charge me for the flippin' hamburger they excise from its flesh.

    Another bleedin tax and to pay for what? Giles the farmer to be able to watch Dolly in hi-def on Youtube. Nice to know the powers that be have their priorities straight while 'administering' a country with needs - healthcare/schools etc stretched to breaking point.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Yes but!!

    You can tax anything that is real; bags of flour, bags of tea, even windows, but you can't tax something intangible. What next, a tax on living?

    Anarchist have got a point.

  115. Andus McCoatover
    Joke

    @John Smith 19 - FAILED Country 101!

    Nope, you're obviously an owner of a Chelsea Tractor (Range Rover for the 'merkans).

    It's "Gerrorff my laaand!"

  116. Carl Thomas

    @W

    The government take of GDP in the UK is around 39%. If Londoners are producing on average a GDP of 30,385GBP we are net contributors even with that higher public money allowance, producing government take of 11850.15 per capita.

    Scotland with its' estimated 19,152 GDP gives a government take of 7469.28 per capita.

    So you were right it's not just about GDP per capita, according to your figures each Londoner's economic output subsidises the public purse to the tune of 2,102GBP while each Scot is a net beneficiary to the tune of 2161 GBP.

    Given Greater London's population and ignoring everything else such as commuters from outside Greater London who work here, etc, Londoners subsidise to the tune of a shade under 15.8 billion a year which offsets Scotland's 11.17 billion deficit with a bit of change.

    If you guys fancy paying an extra 2000 quid for every man woman and child in tax per year to maintain expenditure as it is by offsetting this that's your prerogative.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Jonathan McColl

    "We ordinary town or country dwellers earn a helluva lot less than those with city weightings and would like to use the internet as much as you guys who think milk grows on milk-trees."

    No-one in the city thinks that. We all know that milk is squeezed from milk beans.

  118. W

    @ Carl Thomas

    OK, so you've retreated from using GDP figures to accepting broader economic figures, but there's more to life than the economy.

    Let me rephrase. Being the supposed "engine of the economy" (your term) is not the be all and end all.

    To misquote you: "If you guys fancy paying an extra 2000 quid for every man woman and child in {energy and materials bills} per year to maintain {consumption of northern resources} as it is by offsetting this that's your prerogative."

    ...we can play this game all day long.

    FWIW: I've no objection to a decision to roll broadband access out to everyone in the UK, but, as has already been said: "if I'm forced to funding it, where's the return on my investment?". UK.gov should assume ownership of a portion of BT if it can't achieve the required results as a private company. Just like the neutering of Railtrack and its subsequent relaunch as Network Rail. Just like the stake in the banks that was taken when they needed bailing out.

  119. Citizen Kaned
    Thumb Down

    wtf?

    oh frikking great!

    so, what they are saying to me is that my broadband speed will go down (due to even more people on the network and even more over congestion) and for the privelege i have to pay?

    this seems more dodgy than us all paying tax on blank media as it MIGHT be used for pirating!

    ffs i hate this government.

    @"How is a tax that is announced as a new tax in any way a stealth tax? I don't neccessarily agree with it (people living in rural areas are generally more affluent than those in urban areas so the whole idea seems counterintuitive; perhaps BT should just charge more for rural areas?) but to label it as a stealth tax seems a bit silly." - i only found out about it on here... so it wasnt well publicised was it? i watch the news every day also.

    i loved the way gordon the gimp (like gordon the gopher but with his own hand up his arse) said the other day that broadband was as important as water and electricity! really? because i thought broadband needed electricity to survive, and we need water to survive. i take it we need youtube also to survive in this country....

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