The Conservatives have promised to reverse the Digital Britain Bill if they win the general election, according to Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Mr Hunt, who also revealed that they would consider changes to the structure of the BBC, made the statements in an interview with the Financial Times.
The Digital Britain report introduced the idea of a 50p per month ‘tax’ on copper phone lines. It was announced that the money generated from the levy, which could be as much as £175 million, would be used to fun next generation broadband in certain areas that wouldn’t have easy access. However, if the Conservatives come into power, the fee would be scrapped, leaving no alternative funding plans.
Mr Hunt told the paper that a ‘market lead approach’ could be the solution. ” We believe that it is important to first create an environment where the market is encouraged to invest, and see where this takes us before looking at a broadband tax for areas in which the market won’t invest. While we recognise that there may need to be some public investment in the future to ensure 100% coverage, we believe it is putting the car before the horse to do this before you have seen how much the market will provide.”
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