Friday, 10 July 2009

BT Suggests that Mobile Phone Users Should Help to Spread the Cost of the Broadband Tax

In the Digital Britain report published last month Lord Carter who is the Communications Minister proposed a 50p per month tax on all fixed phone lines. The aim of the 'Broadband Tax' is to help cover the costs of providing high-speed broadband to the nations computers.

What is needed in order to improve our broadband infrastructure is nothing short of a complete overhaul. The current copper phone lines were not designed to transport large amounts of data at high speed, they were designed to handle voice calls. The problem is that there is some debate about who should be paying for the new system.

BT has suggested that in order to reduce the tax per customer more people should be taxed. Their solution is to place a tax on mobile phones as well. Some of the £1.5bn which is expected to be raised by the tax may be available to mobile operators as well as fixed line companies as they are both able to join the bidding process for a share of the funds.

BT's director of industry policy and regulation (snappy title!) Emma Gilthorpe has said "the government should consider the opportunity to widen the base for the tax and possibly reduce the amount that each individual household pays". The problem with this theory is that most households own a combination of a fixed line and several mobile phones so in the end the same people may be paying the same amount as they would with the standard fixed line tax.

Those without a fixed phone line, mobile broadband customers for instance, might end up paying towards the improvement of the infrastructure if BT's proposals are considered.

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