Home » Community Networks »Public Policy & Gov't »Rural Broadband »Video » Currently Reading:

UK Scraps Phone Tax to Fund Rural Broadband

Phillip Dampier June 24, 2010 Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband, Video No Comments

The License Fee pays for the BBC's television, radio, and online operations, but now the British government wants a portion of it to be directed towards broadband as well.

Britain’s new coalition government announced Wednesday it was scrapping a proposed £6 a year phone tax to help expand rural broadband in the country.

“We need investment in our digital infrastructure,” said George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. “But the previous government’s landline duty is an archaic way of achieving this, hitting 30 million households who happen to have a fixed telephone line. I am happy to be able to abolish this new duty before it is even introduced.”

“Instead, we will support private broadband investment, including to rural areas, in part with funding from the digital switchover under-spend within the TV licence fee.”

Osborne is referring to the average £11.63 monthly fee British citizens pay to help fund the operations of the BBC’s radio, television and online operations.  A surplus of up to up to £300 million is anticipated to remain after the UK completes its transition to digital television in the next two years.  That money would be diverted to expanding rural broadband under the government plan.

But campaigners for better rural broadband service complain that will not raise nearly enough to provide broadband across the countryside.  The 50p monthly telephone tax proposed by the former Labour government would have raised nearly £1 billion per year.

Charles Trotman, of the Country Land and Business Association, told The Telegraph it will not be enough money to connect all rural areas. He said remote communities risk being left behind in ‘broadband deserts’ unless more is done to help villages set up connections themselves.

Other critics contend the surplus from the digital TV transition may not exist two years from now.  Thus far, mostly rural regions in England have made the transition to digital, costing the government publicity campaign less than expected.

Rather than the tax, Osborne claims the government can spur investment from the private sector by “making regulatory changes to reduce the cost of roll-out.”  He did not specify what those changes might be.

The government claims it is committed to providing up to 2Mbps broadband service across the entire country, but the lack of action in many areas have forced small towns and villages to launch their own municipal broadband services, sometimes funded by residents themselves.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/BBC Municipal Broadband 4-2010.flv

The BBC covers two British communities doing it themselves — providing enhanced broadband because private providers wouldn’t.  One in Highworth offers free Wi-Fi for up to two hours daily, while in Lyddington residents raised £37,000 to obtain enhanced DSL service.  (5 minutes)

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/Signal -- Connectivity on the move 6-10.mp4

Highworth (Swindon) relies on Signal, a high speed WISP/Wi-Fi network that offers up to 20/2 Mbps unlimited access with no Internet Overcharging schemes like usage caps or overage fees for £5.99 per month, or up to two hours daily access for free.  (4 minutes)

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Write about this: I went out and bought a new doc sis 3 compatible modem...now they are still trying to charge me the 10 dollar fee and my account is showing two modems...
  • Joe V: You forgot to mention Phil that Comcast as horrible as they are, there's another telecom giant just as bad : AT&T-they also imposed usage-base...
  • lllllll: While yes Google can cause harm right now they aren't the problem. The main Problem is these corrupt ISPs that refuse to upgrade the Network and Expan...
  • Limboaz: Not happy times for Comcrap. Hopefully this signifies a new trend of activism when it comes to regulators overseeing companies that refuse to play fai...
  • Phillip Dampier: We know John Malone and Charter are still very interested, but the last attempt met with a hostile response from TWC management. There will need to be...
  • Bob: So does Charter now step in as the new suitor ?...
  • lllllll: T-Mobile cut off limit is Somewhere over a few TBs/ Month. Also I'm not in a Semi Rural Area Either. I'm in a decent size City. Data Usage doesn't equ...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think what is unique is that Google can seamlessly switch between T-Mobile and Sprint, which is a good way to deal with both carriers' temperamental...
  • Phillip Dampier: I thought T-Mobile throttled unlimited users if they got 'out of hand', whatever that means. I assume IIIIIII is in a semi-rural area where tower cong...
  • Limboaz: Ironic a mobile phone company can deliver that kind of bandwidth while cable ISPs using a fiber-optic infrastructure have to be so miserly. The cable/...
  • lllllll: I used 321.37GBs last month from my T-Mobile Phone that's Unlimited. It's going to be more this month....
  • Limboaz: I won't be switching any time soon. It only cost me an extra $20/month to add unlimited data to my T-Mobile phone. Last month I used 30 GB of data. At...

Your Account: