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UK ISPs Criticise “Flawed” Broadband ISP Tax Idea to Save Newspapers

Monday, Sep 24th, 2012 (1:21 pm) - Score 584

The UK Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) has today warned against adopting the “flawed” and “disproportionate” demands of certain journalists for a £2-a-month levy on broadband ISP connections that could be used to help save struggling newspapers.

The idea, which we covered this morning in more detail, was proposed by The Guardian’s executive editor of investigations, David Leigh, and has attracted a lot of attention; much of which appears to have been quite negative. Naturally we wanted to know what ISPs thought and canvassed several for opinions.

Nicholas Lansman, ISPA Secretary General, told ISPreview.co.uk:

David Leigh’s article is certainly an interesting contribution but ISPA believes that the idea that £2-a-month levy on broadband could save our newspapers is ultimately a flawed one.

The Internet may pose a challenge to traditional business models but it also provides a wealth of opportunities for those who are willing to adapt their traditional ways of working. Investigative journalism, an area Mr Leigh seems to be particularly concerned about, has benefited greatly from the fact that the Internet provides new ways to research, share and analyse information.

It is good quality journalism that attracts readers, advertisers and ultimately revenues. A £2-a-month levy may not only reduce the quality of journalism but would also be disproportionate as the monthly subscription costs for broadband can fall well below £10-a-month.”

Setting aside the cost of line rental, which can equate to anything from around £10-15 a month, the cost of broadband itself varies wildly with some providers already charging under £3 for the service (e.g. Primus Saver, Direct Save Telecom etc.). Suffice to say that adding an extra £2 on for newspapers might be somewhat of an unpopular move.

Sadly none of the big ISPs have so far responded to our hails, although that’s not uncommon on the first day of a new week and we hope to publish some further responses in the coming hours / days. We’ll update this article when any arrive.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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