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ISPs to face multi-million pound broadband levy

Posted by malcolm on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 at 15:32

The Conservative government wants to hit Broadband providers with a multimillion-pound levy in order to achieve 100% super-fast broadband coverage by 2020.

According to government plans, 95% of UK households will have access to “super-fast” broadband speeds of 24 megabits per second by 2017/18. However, it will cost an estimated £500m to roll out superfast broadband to the remaining 5% of the country. These areas are not likely to be commercially viable to supply, being geographically remote and sparsely populated.

No official decision has been announced for how to raise the required funds. However, government sources say that an industry levy is the current preferred option, according to the Financial Times.

ThinkBroadband has calculated that the levy could add £1 to monthly broadband bills, while the benefits of greater super-fast coverage will be felt in a number of different government departments.

If a £500m levy was to be raised over two years, it would add around £1 per month to every broadband bill if we assume providers passed on the levy in full - and we see no reason why they would not.

The departments that stand to gain are people like Defra with farmers happy to deal with online forms when they have a good connection, the NHS which can do more remote consultations and HMRC that can move even more to an online only presence.
— Andrew Ferguson, ThinkBroadband, speaking to BBC News.

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