Superfast broadband could be funded by licence fee

The 50p broadband tax that Labour wanted to introduce has been scrapped by the new coalition government. Instead the money to fund the superfast network, which isn't really superfast at all, will be raised by skimming money off of the top of the licence fee.

The Lib-Dems supported the 50p tax but the Tories always opposed it, suggesting that healthy competition within an open market might be a preferable option.

It seems the Tories have, sort of, got their way with this, with new broadband minister Ed Vaizey overseeing a scheme outlined in a document that matched what was written in the Conservative manifesto.

It says the new government will "ensure the rapid rollout of superfast broadband across the country" and that it will ensure that the infrastructure owned by BT and other firms can be used to deliver the services.

The document says: "If necessary, we will consider using the part of the TV licence fee that is supporting the digital switchover to fund broadband in areas that the market alone will not reach".

The Beeb have invited the government to talk to it about the plans. A BBC trust spokesperson said: "We note the reference to the possible use of an element of the licence fee on broadband roll out. We look forward to discussing this with the Government".

So Ed Vaizey's the man we're going to be hearing from a lot in the next few months in terms of upgrading the broadband infrastructure. Whether Vaizey's going to be involved in reviewing the controversial Digital Economy Bill remains to be seen though. Under the previous government that was handled by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation. Vaizey works within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

How's your broadband speed? Superfast, in need of a boost or non-existent? Let us know.



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