Broadband tax will be law before next election

Stephen Timms announced that broadband tax will be made law before the next election at a British Computer Society debate today.

The 50p per...

Stephen Timms announced that broadband tax will be made law before the next election at a British Computer Society debate today.

The 50p per month tax will fund high-speed broadband networks and will apply to everyone with a fixed telephone line.

He expects the tax to raise between £150m and £175m per year. The minister for Digital Britain was speaking at a BCS debate today on the role of the IT industry in bringing the UK economy out of recession.

Timms also said that investment in IT would not be cut, despite the tight fiscal times ahead of the government.

He said, "We have got to half the deficit over the next four years. Public spending has got to be constrained, but there will still be spending. It will need to be tightly targeted on areas like this."

Other panellists at the debate, which was moderated by John Humphrys, agreed business would have to play a role in investment for universal broadband.

David Clarke, chief executive of the BCS, said, "The business applications that will be available from this are immense, but it is a huge gamble, and the only way it is going to happen is if businesses see there is a return on investment."

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