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ANS founder expresses concerns over Fibre Optic tax

Why the Government’s current broadband strategy is likely to fail

The Coalition Government’s broadband strategy came under fire from the Lords Communications Committee last week, ANS Group’s Scott Fletcher explains why the current strategy is expected to fail.

One concern with the Coalition’s broadband strategy is the so called ‘Fibre Optic’ tax. Cities outside of London face the tax, yet it is these very areas that generally need faster connections for the internet.

“For British business to benefit fully from technological advancements in broadband we need faster and cheaper connections but we need them across all of our major cities,” said Fletcher, founder and chairman of UK cloud infrastructure specialists ANS Group.

The Government’s priority should be to close the digital divide, not widen it with taxes on business outside of London. Promising to deliver superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 is a great idea, but the Communications Committee worries that the delivery of certain speeds has become the guiding principle: “What is important is the long term assurance that as new internet applications emerge, everyone will be able to benefit, from inhabitants of inner cities to the remotest areas of the UK."

“Fibre optic broadband is as integral to British business growth as the transport network is. It is a key part of our infrastructure and the government should be investing directly in it,” said Fletcher.

The current strategy doesn’t support this directly and it could see some people and business being left behind. The Communications Committee has recognised this problem and called for the creation of a network of fibre-optic hubs to get fast broadband to local communities. Let’s hope the Government realises this too.

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