Feeds

Darling confirms telephone line tax

Townies to pay for rural broadband

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Yesterday's budget confirmed Labour's intention to tax every phone line in the UK to the tune of 50 pence a month, providing funds for connecting the disconnected by 2017.

The tax was widely expected, and was part of the Digital Britain proposals, but yesterday's speech confirmed that it will come in once Labour gets past the minor detail of winning the next election. The plan is to connect 90 per cent of the country by 2017, but rural operators will need to find money for fibre if they're going to avoid being underminded by BT's ubiquitious copper.

For a long time Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) were seen as the ideal way to connect rural communities - keeping infrastructure costs low and only relying on cables for aggregated backhaul. The problem is that once the company has got around the line-of-sight issues and licensed some frequency it's also proved there's a market. So BT comes along and upgrades the local telephone exchange so it can steal away most of the customers with cheaper ADSL.

The WISP goes out of business, customers too far from the exchange still don't have any broadband and BT makes money for its shareholders - which is, after all, what it should be doing.

All this was laid out for us last year by Malcolm Corbett of the Community Broadband Network, who explained that for rural broadband to work companies have to lay fibre optic to the home. That way BT can't come along and undercut the prices - it could lay more fibre, but that would be a huge investment which would only result in a comparable service, so BT is unlikely to bother.

Of course, laying fibre is much more expensive than setting up a WISP, which is where all those 50 pence pieces come in - unless the Conservatives win the next election in which case they'll be raiding the BBC's licence fee for the money.

Corbett, now of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association, reckons the money will help networks avoid the trap of providing a sub-standard service which can be easily superseded by BT - essential if every bothy and cow shed is going to be connected to "superfast broadband" as envisioned by Digital Britain. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.