Feeds

Unused phone lines to be taxed for rural broadband

Skypers won't get away with it either

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Unused landlines will be taxed under government plans to subsidise rural broadband, and VAT will be charged on the new 50p per month tax.

"The duty will be payable on all local loops that are made available for use by an owner whether or not the lines are actually used," the Treasury said today.

"It will also be payable on all local loops regardless of whether the loop consists of a copper pair, a co-axial cable or a fibre connection."

Only means-tested households subscribed to ultracheap "social phone" services will be exempted.

A consultation makes it clear that every other landline, including those used exclusively to access the internet, will be taxed from October next year. The Treasury said the landline firms had complained exempting internet only line might hit their voice revenues.

"The duty has also been designed to include broadband services to address concerns that phone users may substitute to voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services such as Skype. This design means that users that choose not to take a phone service will still pay the duty," the consulatation explained.

The Tories are opposed to the tax and have said they would look to scrap it "as soon as possible" if they win the next general election, though have not made a firm commitment.

It's currently envisaged that the taxman will collect from the physical owners of local loops - mainly BT and Virgin Media. BT's wholesale division will pass the cost on to retail ISPs and phone providers, who the government envisages will pass it on to consumers.

"Some retailers may decide to include the duty as part of the line rental or overall package charge to customers, while others may choose to add it as a separate explicit item on the bill," the Treasury said.

Premises with more than one line will have to pay the tax on each. However, for Virgin media customers, where a "line" consists of a co-axial line for internet access and a copper wire for phone, only one levy will be applied.

The Treasury said it expects to collect £175m per year, allowing fibre-to-the premises and fibre-to-the-cabinet projects to bring faster broadband to 90 per cent of the country by 2017.

BT has said it believes there is will be a business case for commercial rollouts covering only two thirds of premises. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?