Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Labour Details Broadband Plan

Yesterday Labour released their 2010 Manifesto in anticipation of the forthcoming election. With the election on the horizon the main political parties all seem hesitant to use the 't' word. Considering the unpopular nature of Labour's proposed 'Broadband Tax' I was interested in seeing if this was mentioned at all.

The Tax is to return should Labour win the election with 50p per month being charged to all homes with landline connections. This is needed, Labour says, in order to cover the cost of providing broadband for all. The Manifesto (PDF link) states that:

Britain must be a world leader in the development of broadband. We are investing in the most ambitious plan of any industrialised country to ensure a digital Britain for all, extending access to every home and business. We will reach the long-term vision of superfast broadband for all through a public-private partnership in three stages:

* first, giving virtually every household in the country a broadband service of at least two megabits per second [2Mbps] by 2012;

* second, making possible superfast broadband for the vast majority of Britain in partnership with private operators, with Government investing over £1 billion in the next seven years;

* and lastly reaching the final ten per cent using satellites and mobile broadband.

The proposed tax would generate £175m per year to improve the coverage and infrastructure of the current broadband system. The 10% of people who live in areas which cannot be reached by normal broadband will be able to connect using mobile broadband. The problem with this theory is that, whilst mobile broadband coverage has improved a great deal, the areas which are not covered are likely to be the remote rural areas which are also not covered by normal broadband.

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