Agenda items for Vaizey's business rates summit

Communications minister Ed Vaizey is fulfilling a promise to meet network operators to discuss business rates levied on networks, especially fibre networks, on 2 December.
That’s good. What’s not so good is that it appears delegates might as well save their breath if they think it will change how BT is valued for rating purposes.
But they might be able to get something done about the Valuation Office Agency’s proposed £20 per house levy on every house that gets broadband (only £18 if the house is on BT’s broadband services).
They might also try to deter the VOA’s wheeze to rate WiFi routers, especially BT’s two million Home Hubs. VOA argues for rating on the grounds that these provide public access to the net, if their owners haven’t switched off the facility. (We thought it might tap Google for information on which doors to knock on first…)
Interestingly, BT and quite a lot of little network operators appear to have missed out on invitations, as indeed has Computer Weekly.
No doubt BT is unconcerned as the courts, or at least a majority of judges, have never said how BT is rated is unfair. But the rating system does deter some investors from building networks.
If Ed is serious about delivering Europe’s best broadband ecosystem by 2015 he should get everyone into the tent, including Computer Weekly, which would be delighted to run this blog under the title Fixed Telephone.

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Agree. We have tried to explain many times that it is pointless to tax the seed corn (the fibre) far better to tax the harvest. (the profits made from the network and the innovative uses people will put it to). C'mon Ed, help us light up digitalbritain and stop the copper cabal from keeping us in the digital slow lane. chris
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I would be very surprised if anything actually came of this, especially since they've left out some of the best smaller operators like Fibrestream and Vtesse. God I hope they fix it though, that would be a real day to celebrate.
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