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This article was published on November 2, 2009

£42 Phone Line Tax to Upgrade UK Broadband Network

£42 Phone Line Tax to Upgrade UK Broadband Network
James Glick
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James Glick

James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and An James is a London based technology blogger and writer for The Next Web Network. Working for UK online advertising agency 20:20 Media and Analytics, James has a strong passion for start ups, social media, apps and the web community. He can be found writing for his personal, company and of course TNW UK blogs. Follow him via Twitter and Facebook.

Broadband tax is set to be rolled out in the UK to upgrade the internet infrastructure to a high-speed fibre optic network to satisfy the country’s increasingly demanding thirst for bandwidth.Digital Britain

With the majority of the country relying on copper phone lines to supply themselves with their daily dose of on demand TV, gaming and digital download services. The Government is going to tax each phone line £42 over the course of 7 years to fund £1billion worth of work.

It’s part of a pledge from the UK government to guarantee every household in the country access to a 2mb connection by 2012.

Mr Dunstone, Chief Executive of UK ISP Talk Talk believes that the £0.50 monthly tax to phone line customers will result in 100,000 households giving up broadband.

“As well as being unfair we estimate that the increase in price will mean that over 100,000 mostly low income homes will be forced to give up their broadband lines.”

While this is an alarming prediction, especially as this initiative is aimed to increase the access the UK public have to broadband, it’s also important to stress how primitive the current infrastructure is.

When comparing this ‘next-generation’ broadband network for the UK against others around the world, even with this redevelopment, the UK will still going be lagging way behind the world’s leading internet innovating countries.

Global Internet SpeedsA recent post to the TNW Shareables blog emphasizes how far behind the UK will be even with this work completed. For example, Japan currently offers an average download speed of 61mbps, with Korea (47mbps) and Finland (22mbps) leading the way. Closer to home, France are able to offer their citizens an average speed of 18.4 mbps.

Virgin Media can offer speeds up to 50mb in certain areas of the UK via a wallet robbing fire optic installation though this still leaves the UK with an average speed of circa 3 mbps.

The upgrades that the Digital Britain report recommended, is still a sizeable step in forward in the right direction and it is concerning to see the Conserative party, who are widely expected to take office at next year’s general election, will abolish this tax without alternative plans at current.

With the highest number of internet users in Europe and innovation online flourishing as a whole, there is a real danger that even with this essential work being undertaken, the UK’s infastructure could be just under as much strain and behind as it is now.