The final Digital Britian report from the government has announced plans to impose a tax on all fixed copper phonelines in the country to subsidise 'next generation broadband' to the final third of British homes and small businesses.
The Report States: "The Government believes that the case is made for the desirability of such next generation networks being available to the large majority of the UK population. It is also persuaded that the economics of network deployment, whether fixed or next-generation mobile, mean that true superfast broadband will be concentrated in the first two thirds of the market in the next decade, leaving the 'final third' served only with current generation broadband. This would be undesirable."
The report states that UK consumers receive some of the lowest telecommunications prices in Europe and wholesale prices for today's copper-network has 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.
The new tax will be based on a supplement of £0.50p per month on all fixed copper lines, which will be available on a tender basis to any operator and act as a part-subsidy for the deployment of next generation broadband.
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