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UK Government Seeking to Dump 50p Next Gen Broadband Tax

Posted: 18th Aug, 2009 By: MarkJ
The governments new Communications Minister, Stephen Timms, has given his strongest hint yet that its controversial plans for a 50p per month tax on all fixed UK phone lines (aka - Next Generation Fund) - designed to help foster development and uptake of next generation (faster) broadband services, could be dumped.

The levy was first proposed in June by Lord Carter's final Digital Britain report (original news), which also set a target of 2017 for 90% of UK homes and businesses to be within reach of next generation broadband lines. However Timms recently warned The Times newspaper that, this being an election year, such a tax was unlikely to survive.

Stephen Timms said:

“If the question is, is the levy definitely going to be legislated for this side of the election, I can’t say for sure. Things that are contentious will have to be left until [AFTER THE ELECTION].”

Timms has since given several even stronger hints to other mainstream media outlets, which would appear to support the above outcome. It's also understood that The Conservative party is stiffly opposed to the tax and since Labour looks less likely to win the next election then.. you do the math.

Ironically the Next Generation Fund was one of the few measures with any kind of substance to come out of Carter's Digital Britain report and its loss would make the whole exercise seem rather pointless.

However the tax was also controversial for many other reasons. Europe was concerned about its impact on competition, others felt that it wouldn't have raised enough cash and we had concerns about how the money could be "fairly" distributed and yet still be effective at reaching its goal.
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