Broadband tax 'will not help the unconnected' - PC Retail

Broadband tax 'will not help the unconnected'

Improving access to the internet does not make up for the cost of hardware, TCA president says
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The Government’s broadband tax is not going to help connect those in need, the head of a trade body has said.

Keith Warburton, president of the Technology Channels Association, wrote in a blog for PCR that improving broadband access was just one facet of the problem.

“The Government is going to raise a levy on all fixed phone lines in order to pay for connecting the unconnected. But then what? Is it going to give away several million computers?” he wrote.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling introduced the so-called broadband tax earlier this month with the pre-budget report. It will see an annual £6 tariff levied on all households with a fixed line telephone, the proceeds of which will be put in to a fund to ensure the development of internet services in isolated areas.

The Government’s Digital Britain report found that 10 million people in the UK have never accessed the internet, with elderly people and the unemployed being the two largest groups that are not online.

“There’s a raft of statistics stating the economic benefit to the individual and the country if we remedy this situation. But the obstacles to success are many, not least being a distinct lack of notable Government investment – long on intent, short on money.” Warburton wrote. “When you are scrabbling to feed your family or pay the fuel bill, you don’t consider getting a computer as being a potential solution to your pressing needs. And once you’ve got it, you still need to pay for your broadband access.”

To read Keith Warburton’s comment in full, head to PCR’s blogs section.

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