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Digital Britain report proposes monthly fixed-line tax

18 июня 2009

As part of its Digital Britain Report the U.K. government on Tuesday announced plans to impose a charge of 50 pence per month on all fixed lines, starting in 2010.

Called the Next Generation Fund, the government claims the new levy will raise between £150 million and £175 million per year, which will be used to fund the rollout of new network infrastructure to rural and remote areas – referred to by the government as "the final third".

"This amount might be sufficient to make investment in connecting most of the final third by 2017 as commercially viable as connecting the first two thirds of the population," said the report.

The government justified the tax based on the decline in prices for both retail and wholesale telecoms services over the last few years.

"[Overall] wholesale prices for today's copper network [have] fallen by £8 per line per year in real terms since 2005. Over the same period the retail price for combined voice and broadband has fallen by around £90 per annum in real terms," said the report.

"The government believes that it is right to share a small part of that saving, and that a Next Generation Fund supplement of 50p per month… represents a fair and sensible national investment."

Under the scheme, the monthly charge will be collected by all fixed-line operators including cable firms, and passed onto U.K. regulator Ofcom.

The government plans by the autumn of 2009 to form a specific body responsible for the rollout of new networks called the Network Design and Procurement Group.

The group will disperse the Next Generation Fund via tenders open to all fixed-line operators that plan to deploy next-generation networks.

The government also confirmed plans under its Universal Broadband Service Commitment to ensure every home in the U.K. will have access to broadband at speeds of no less than two megabits per second by 2012


Источник: Total Telecom

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