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Broadband tax scrapped in emergency budget

Chancellor confirms ISPs must open networks

A 'broadband tax' that would have seen Brits with a telephone line forking out £6 per year to pay for the roll-out of fibre broadband across the UK, has been officially scrapped by the coalition government.

Chancellor George Osbourne made the announcement in his emergency Budget today, the first since the new government came in to power.

The broadband tax was proposed by Labour last year and would have raised £170m for the Next Generation Fund.

But the Tories have ditched the proposal in favour of a scheme outlined in their manifesto that requires UK ISPs to open their networks to deliver "the rapid rollout of superfast broadband across the country".

The party also intend to use the BBC Licence fee if necessary to help fund the roll-out. This scheme will be overseen by Ed Vaizey who was appointed as Broadband minister last month.

Mike Wilson, broadband manager at Moneysupermarket.com, said the 'broadband tax' was unfair to those that have a landline but no net access.

"It is crucial that the upgrading of the UK broadband network continues and it is good to see the government has committed to this process," said Wilson.

"Every home deserves to have fast access to what is now an essential service. BT and Virgin Media have already begun the upgrade of their networks and as funding will now come from the private sector, digital switchover under-spend and BBC licence fee, the Government and Ofcom need to ensure that the roll out of a super-fast network reaches those places that need it most."

See also: Utility ducts to be used in super-fast broadband roll out?

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