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UK Government Announces Broadband Tax 252

Posted by kdawson
from the one-hand-giveth dept.
Barence writes "The UK Government is planning a 50p-per-month levy on fixed-line connections to pay for next-generation broadband. The Government claims that market forces alone will bring fiber connections to only two thirds of the country, so it plans to use the 'broadband tax' to pay for the final third by 2017. The plans form part of the Government's Digital Britain report, which also see the UK guarantee connections of 2Mbits/sec for every citizen by 2012." The report also threatens legal action and bandwidth restriction for repeat file sharers.
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UK Government Announces Broadband Tax

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  • Pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Captain Kirk (148843) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:06AM (#28359079) Homepage Journal

    BT still owns the all the backbone connectivity and makes obscene profits on it. Taxing users in order to make more connections to that backbone monopoly is totally wrong.

    • Re:Pointless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:33AM (#28359211)

      Don't you mean they own the last mile [wikipedia.org]? Given that it's uneconomical to have loads of different companies constantly digging up the roads to wire up their own customers, then you have to choose either 1) the state lets a single company do it and regulates (what the UK has now) or 2) a state owned company does it (what the UK used to have). The interesting thing here is that in both cases the company was BT. A third possibility might be that the last mile infrastructure is communally owned but building and maintenance is put out to tender to private companies.

      • by MindKata (957167) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @06:40AM (#28359473) Journal
        "A third possibility might be that the last mile infrastructure is communally owned"

        A fourth possibility is they pay for it out of the cost to the people who need better connections outside of the major cities.

        Getting others to pay for it is nuts. Also where does this thinking end? Can the government simply choose ever more ways to tax people to give to yet more companies to partially fund what the company should be earning from the sale of its products.

        Also they are selling a rubbish product. 2Mbits is obsolite now. So do they then come back in a few years time, to take even more money to pay to upgrade it to say 8Mbits ... then come back again and again taking ever more money every few years. Each time taking millions more to pay for incremental upgrades.

        What is it with the current UK government. Their greedy corrupt control freak attitude seems to have no end. I love how they spin it as (implied *just*) 50p-per-month levy. That sounds so much better than £6 (about $10) extra tax per year. The UK Government gives hundreds of billions to their rich banker friends and then their friends in telecoms also want some free extra money, so the Government decides to take some more money from people. Haven't they given enough already this year?!?. £6 may not be much when you have a job, but its a lot for the elderly on a pension. Also if someone walked up to you in the street and just tried to take that amount of money off you, everyone would complain about it, yet this government can just decide to take it wherever they wish.

        Its not as if BT are short of money... "BT to freeze pay of 100,000 employees" ... while "Ian Livingston, the chief executive, stands to make more than £6 million in bonuses this year if performance targets are met. This is on top of his basic salary of £850,000." ... Its a corrupt arragant UK government giving millions more to an arragant corrupt boss treating his staff with contempt. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/telecoms/article5890128.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kjella (173770)

          Also they are selling a rubbish product. 2Mbits is obsolite now. So do they then come back in a few years time, to take even more money to pay to upgrade it to say 8Mbits ... then come back again and again taking ever more money every few years. Each time taking millions more to pay for incremental upgrades.

          Get serious. Nobody's going to run fiberoptics to every farm on the countryside, if they tried you'd be paying 600 GBP instead of 6 GBP. Many people outside population centers are still stuck on dialup, and ADSL would be a big upgrade. At least if they mean 2Mbit and not "up to" in the week with three sundays. Broadband is probably one of the most disproportionally distributed services, everywhere you can get power and water and phones but 10Mbit+ lines is almost exclusively in big cities.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by El Torico (732160)
            Many people outside population centers are still stuck on dialup..."
            So what? Living in a suburban or rural area has its advantages and disadvantages. If the residents of an area want to have higher speed Internet access, then they can petition their local government to have a referendum in which the local residents determine if they want to fund the necessary infrastructure.

            Broadband is probably one of the most disproportionally distributed services, everywhere you can get power and water and phone
          • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @09:07AM (#28360465) Homepage

            Nobody's going to run fiberoptics to every farm on the countryside

            Post that here, got modded +1 Insightful. Post that in South Korea, get modded +1 Funny.

        • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @07:31AM (#28359751) Journal

          Hey, I can afford 50p a month and if it actually goes toward dragging our country into the 21st Century, then I'm fine with it. I don't care if I have to subsidize a few people out in the countryside. The more people that have a decent connection, the better for UK businesses that rely on it. It also inches us toward telecommuting being viable which (a) reduces congestion in and out of the cities, (b) reduces the environmental impact on all of us and (c) lowers housing costs in built up areas.

          But mainly it's just that it's 50p a month. If the government came round all our doors and asked for £6.00 to improve our country's broadband infrastructure, I'd happily stick it in the tin so long as I knew the money wasn't disappearing into BT's (or any other one company's) bank account.
        • Its not as if BT are short of money... "BT to freeze pay of 100,000 employees" ... while "Ian Livingston, the chief executive, stands to make more than £6 million in bonuses this year if performance targets are met. This is on top of his basic salary of £850,000." ... Its a corrupt arragant UK government giving millions more to an arragant corrupt boss treating his staff with contempt. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/telecoms/article5890128.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

          No, its not as if BT are short of money, but why should they suffer the cost of a non profitable market sector? You can already gain access to the last mile infrastructure, but the problem is no third party has done it for these outlying areas. So why should BT?

        • by khakipuce (625944) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:06AM (#28359951) Homepage Journal

          A fourth possibility is they pay for it out of the cost to the people who need better connections outside of the major cities.

          If you follow that line of thinking then may be people who live in outside major cities should pay more road tax or may be cancer patients should pay more for expensive drugs. We generally have fair minded policies in the UK and recognise that what you loose on supporting others you gain by what they contribute to you. If dairy farmers have to pay more for braodband (and they have to use things like the Cattle Movement Service on line) then they will put that on the price of milk, or go out of business. How about next time you vist Scotland the broadband in the hotel costs 10x as much as in a city?

          What's a stake here is really the ability to distribute internet TV. We will all be better off if TV moves to internet rather than broadcast which requires high energy radio transmission and all the attendant cost. But you can't move to internet only TV unless everyone is on broad band. It would be a lot better to stop the digital TV roll-out and use that money to fund braodband.

          • by Jurily (900488)

            or may be cancer patients should pay more for expensive drugs.

            They already do.

            • by 16Chapel (998683)
              Please explain - I thought drugs were paid for by the NHS (unless you're talking about state-of-the-art drugs that haven't been picked up by the NHS yet)
    • Re:Pointless (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:54AM (#28359295)
      BT is restricted in how much it can wholesale ADSL lines for - and the companies taking advantage of LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) at the exchange seem to have cherry picked all the good, profitable sites (large towns, cities and the like) and left the outlying areas well alone.

      So I don't think its altogether fair to round on BT for this - the option for other companies to freely compete in these areas has been around for several years, and it has failed. So why should BT be forced to supply ADSL to outlying areas in a lossmaking fashion when no one else will?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        And they charge based on bits transferred, not bits able to be transferred. Meaning that the most economical way of selling broadband is to oversubscribe and blame other users on the slow connection.

        • BT does not horrendously overcharge for bandwidth, the rates they can charge to other competitors is heavily regulated by OFCOM in the UK. If ISPs are not charging what it actually costs to provide the service, then the problem is the ISP and not BT nor the user.
    • by Ma8thew (861741)
      That's not really true. There are cable providers who supply broadband. Mine is supplied by Virgin Media.
    • by itsdapead (734413)

      BT still owns the all the backbone connectivity and makes obscene profits on it.

      Supposedly, though, the quid pro quo for BT inheriting a near-monopoly from the old, state-funded infrastructure is that they are under a Universal Service Obligation [ofcom.org.uk] that requires them to provide telephone serviced to all, and not to cherry pick.

      Unfortunately, this only applies to Plain Old Telephone Services - and extending it to Broadband would vastly increase the cost...

    • by DJRumpy (1345787)
      So will the tax money eventually be 'payed back' to the tax payer? In other words, at some point someone will profit from these new pipes at the expense of the taxpayer. Why aren't they demanding compensation for the cost they are fronting?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:06AM (#28359081)

    At 2Mb/s, I'd say the entire country gets punished right from the start. This sort of speed is okay, but it's hardly the future.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      the point is that most people get more than that, unless they live far away from the exchange. People who live in the wilds, for example.

      I get 7mbps, but to be fair, I'd happily pay 50p a month extra if it meant they laid fibre everywhere (my house in the metropolis first please) and I got 20mbps :) I'd even pay £1 more for something even faster...

      • by Jamu (852752)
        I'm just looking forward to double my current bandwidth. Although I suspect that BT's "upgrade" will be 2Mb/s and an unstable connection.
    • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:13AM (#28359121) Journal

      I'm on 3mbit, and I don't mind. I'd prefer more speed, but 3mbit is actually enough to watch HD stuff off gametrailers.com, and finish downloads reasonably fast. If I need to download something big, like a steam game, I can always leave my computer on overnight.

      Much more important than raw speed - the amount of bandwidth. I get 200GB/mo, which is very difficult to use up entirely. Somehow I doubt the UK/BT will give its customers that much.

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Chances are it'll be closer to what I get from Sky for free as part of their "See, Speak, Surf" package: 2Mb/s and a 2GB/mo cap. 2Mb/s seems fast enough for everything I do (the round-trip response seems to be the longest part at times!) and somewhere around 2GB isn't unreasonable for most people's usage (I run a few websites on top of normal browsing, but the only times I think I have gone over were downloading Linux Live CDs).

        High-speed broadband for everyone is a great idea, but when people are still mak

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Marcika (1003625)

          [S]omewhere around 2GB isn't unreasonable for most people's usage (I run a few websites on top of normal browsing, but the only times I think I have gone over were downloading Linux Live CDs).

          2GB is enough if all people do is email and websites (but then, dial-up is enough for that...). As soon as you step into the 21st century, it is woefully underproportioned even if you don't do big downloads: 2GB per month is just enough for 1 hour/day of internet radio or skype OR 15 mins/day of low-rez Youtube. If someone actually wanted to use the BBC iPlayer that he paid for with his TV tax, his quota would be used up within an afternoon...

          Point being: If you cripple the use of broadband by limiting it

          • Moreover, patches for OS, programs and games are now hundreds of megabytes big. For example, just new firmware for iphone is around 250MB.

            Funny thing happened when I was away for two weeks depending only on a laptop with usb stick for mobile wireless. I have 500MB/month subscription and just after 5 days of my light surfing and mailing I was disconnected for doing more than 500MB. What happened? When I was away from the computer there was some OSX update and it eat all my monthly allowance. Btw, there shoul

    • The UK government already made these empty threats about "3 strikes" before and never followed through with it.

      Add to this EU measures against such disconnection and the failure of such measures in other nations for human rights reasons, and I don't see this as a credible threat, just a bunch of babbling on.

    • by erikdalen (99500)

      I hope they at least mean that everyone should have at least 2Mb/s upload speed as well. At least here in Sweden there's a lot of people on ADSL that only have 1Mb/s upload.

    • by sorak (246725)

      At 2Mb/s, I'd say the entire country gets punished right from the start. This sort of speed is okay, but it's hardly the future.

      Point taken, but my father-in-law is stuck on dial up, because, here in the US, we're waiting for the cable company to decide that it is economically feasible to provide service in his area. He would kill for 2Mb/s.

  • by Manip (656104) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:14AM (#28359129)

    Instead of the gov' taxing people and placing down public broadband lines companies can compete over... They're literally handing a giant check to the existing two big broadband network suppliers (cable and DSL) and asking them to put down the lines. So in the long term they're just giving the broadband networks a larger subscriber base without any real public benefit.

    There is nothing wrong with the tax but what they're using it for is flawed. It will lead to monopolies in most areas, or at best two options to pick from that both charge similar rates and provide similar services.

  • by Houndofhell (1480889) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:15AM (#28359133)
    Problem is BT estimates that it will cost upwards of £5Bn to do FttC.At 50p a month even if every household paid this. It would still take 37.9 years to raise that amount. Its totally pointless, further more the problem in the UK is that all the politicans and BPI seem to have gotten it in their heads that all file-sharing is illegal regardless of whether it is family videos or the latest cinema release.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ranulf (182665)

      That 50p extra per month they want to charge me is exactly the 50p they gave me back a few months ago when they dropped the VAT on my £20 pcm broadband bill from £3 to £2.50. And now they want that back...

      Oh wait, aren't they getting that back in December when they hike the VAT rate back up again? And that's assuming that it only goes back up to 17.5% rather than the 20% everyone's expecting... :(

      New labour, new (stealth) taxes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Macthorpe (960048)

      Problem is BT estimates that it will cost upwards of ã5Bn to do FttC.At 50p a month even if every household paid this. It would still take 37.9 years to raise that amount. Its totally pointless

      The article says they are funding "fixed/wireless services", so that isn't what they're funding.

      further more the problem in the UK is that all the politicans and BPI seem to have gotten it in their heads that all file-sharing is illegal regardless of whether it is family videos or the latest cinema release

      No, you (and far too many other people) have gotten it into your head that they think that, and you won't let it go. Note that the government quote actually says "piracy of intellectual property" and not file sharing in general.

      I know it's hard, and nobody really expects you to, but you should try reading the articles.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The fact that they are concentrating on Fibre to the Cabinet is a disaster too. It's already old hat, with other countries moving to Fibre to the Home/Premises.

      It doesn't help that Virgin Media keeps lying about having "fibre optic" broadband. They don't - they have analogue fibre to their cabinets, then it's copper to the home. What we need is digital fibre all the way to the wall socket.

      FttC is the reason why we are aiming so low (2Mb) instead of looking at more useful speeds. 2Mb is barely enough for one

  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:19AM (#28359151)

    I'm sure I recall something about US phone companies being given vast quantities of money - officially to lay on broadband, but there were no sanctions written in to say "failure to lay on broadband will result in the money being repayable" or similar.

    Quite what happened with the money I don't know but it wasn't spent on broadband.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:22AM (#28359161)

    This actually *is* a good thing - if the money inmediately is used for the intended purpose: Bringing nation-wide Broadband fast. Which would mean that the runtime of this tax is limited to a few years, when every corner of the countryside has broadband.

    This is actually quite different from the German GEZ fee for Internet capable devices. Which is bizar beyond anything concievable.

    • No , you've got it all wrong, see? If you make the tax end when the whole country has broadband, you give the politicians a reason to never let you have broadband--if you get it, they lose revenues. And then how will they pay for things they actually care about? Better to have the tax not take effect until after you have your broadband. Make them work for your money.

    • Limited tme? (Score:2, Redundant)

      by msgmonkey (599753)

      I'm sure goverments spend alot of time thinking of new ways to tax people, hell they'd tax breathing air and having sex if they could. I've never seen a tax that is rescinded, tax revenue to goverments is like heroin to a junkie.

    • by Tx (96709) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:35AM (#28359217) Journal

      This actually *is* a good thing - if the money inmediately is used for the intended purpose: Bringing nation-wide Broadband fast.

      Unfortunately given the track record of our government, I can't say I'm hugely optimistic about that. This smells of the kind of private-public partnerships that our government is so fond of, where they can claim a low up-front cost for a scheme, but it ends up costing more than they thought, with the private companies raking it in at the tax payers expense. See for example the PFI hospital schemes [timesonline.co.uk] that Mr Brown championed so keenly. I expect the telcos in line to be involved in this are rubbing their hands with glee.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      If you're going to do it, you just better make damn sure the government specifies hard benchmarks and deadlines for the companies getting the money. The government subsidized broadband development [pbs.org] in the U.S. too (to the tune of tens of billions of $), only to end up with a patchwork system where most people still don't have fiber to their homes and many don't have any broadband options at all. The fastest speed I can get on my DSL line is still only 3Mbps--and I live in an urban area, not out in the boonie
    • Good thing only in theory. But I always remember the example I can see from my windows. There is a big bridge connecting the shore and an island which was of build with public funds 30 years ago. They of course charge (and quite much) the crossing the bridge but they did promise that will go away as soon as the credit for the bridge is repaid (to banks I suppose). But you can almost guess what happened. People repaid for the bridge in just a couple of years but that charging didn't go away. They did buckle

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >The Government says it will make it "easier and cheaper" for rights holders to take civil action against file sharers.
    >
    >What's more, it will "place an obligation on ISPs to maintain records of the most frequent offenders, which would allow rights holders to take targeted legal action against these >infringers."
    >
    >Finally, ISPs will be roped in to protect copyright material, restricting bandwidth to known filesharers, and even blocking access to certain protocols entirely.

    ONLY approved prot

    • by Xest (935314)

      I agree.

      The problem is, the next government, the Conservatives, are more than happy with Labour's proposals on filesharing.

      They're going to happen regardless I'm afraid out with the old dictator, in with the new. As Cameron refuses a change from first past the post because he knows it guarantees him and his party 100% power even with only 38% of popular vote he IS a dictator, just like Brown was a dictator on 0% of the vote and Blair on 35%. But that's the problem with Britain, we live in a country where FP

  • The actual report (Score:5, Informative)

    by krou (1027572) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:49AM (#28359279)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/16_06_09digitalbritain.pdf [bbc.co.uk]

    Other major points in the report (from this BBC article [bbc.co.uk]):

    • a three-year plan to boost digital participation
    • universal access to broadband by 2012
    • fund to invest in next generation broadband
    • digital radio upgrade by 2015
    • liberalisation of 3G spectrum
    • legal and regulatory attack on digital piracy
    • support for public service content partnerships
    • changed role for Channel 4
    • consultation on how to fund local, national and regional news
    • £130m of BBC licence fee to pay for ITV regional news
    • a three-year plan to boost digital participation

      They're going to build a windmill? ;-)

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Note to government: "next generation" broadband is not ADSL or half fibre/half copper. It is pure fibre, with a symmetrical connection (same upload speed as download speed).

    • I thought one of the most interesting parts of the Digital Britain report was the commentary on copyright and related subjects, which took a reasonably realistic and balanced view IMHO, e.g.,

      • Copyright infringment for profit is viewed as theft.
      • Fair use needs updating, but this is heavily restricted by Europe-level regulation at present.
      • A lot of people who infringe copyright do not realise that what they are doing is illegal. Most people are not intimately familiar with copyright law.
      • Most people will obtain
  • by jim0203 (980945) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @05:51AM (#28359281)
    Surely the problem here isn't that the UK government is trying to raise taxes to pay for something that has a massive social benefit, but that it's doing it via a poll tax? I pay as much towards this project as my millionaire friend and my grandmother who's on a small pension. Is it really that unfashionable to tax the rich?
    • The rich already make a disproportionate contribution in the form of heavy income tax.
      As far as I'm concerned, once they've done that they can then do what they like with what remains and should be able to do so on the same terms as everyone else.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jim0203 (980945)
        Even though people with higher incomes are more likely to have broadband access? This just seems a crazy setup: people who are less able to pay the tax are being forced to pay at the same level as everyone else, and people who don't have any need for broadband but still want a phone line have to subsidise those of us who do want broadband! I'm afraid I subscribe to the old idea that capitalism is an imperfect system and a progressive tax regime - with the rich getting taxed more than the poor, because thei
        • People with higher incomes are more likely to have most things. The richer they are the more they are going to spend. Which means they probably pay more in VAT in a month that you pay income tax in a year. And they've already paid a FAR bigger net percentage of their earnings in income tax than you.
          Now you want to tax them extra not only on what they earn but also on what they spend. Just how much subsidising do people need?

    • Yeah, the idea of a fair tax, that's just *so* unfair!

      Wait... What?

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      Surely the problem here isn't that the UK government is trying to raise taxes to pay for something that has a massive social benefit, but that it's doing it via a poll tax?

      I think the theory is that such a small levy will be "competed away" (see Lord Carter quote in this article [bbc.co.uk]) and the people who will actually pay are the phone companies when they hand their monthly sack of 50p pieces over to the treasury.

      However, while I'm sure that people who buy a line rental & calls package won't directly pay this levy, it will probably be paid by all the people (like myself) who want a minimal BT line for broadband, emergencies and those stupid fracking "local rate" 0845 numbers,

    • Why should the rich - or anyone else - pay for your home entertainment? And lets not kid ourselves that broadband is a vital public utility up there with water and electricty , it isnt, despite what some vested interests may proclaim. Apart from a few home workers its mostly used for recreation. Why should we be taxed on that??

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jim0203 (980945)
        The rich shouldn't pay for my TV or my internet. To reiterate: I wouldn't benefit if this tax was levied progressively; I'd end up paying more, in all likelihood. That's fair, because I'm more able to pay such a tax than a lot of other people.

        I'm confused as to why people always think that progressive taxes will take money out of their pay packets. Wealth distribution is massively skewed and any fair taxation system would tax the richest and leave the regular people alone.
        • by Viol8 (599362)

          What do you have against the rich? Are you jealous of people who work hard and so earn more money? Most rich people do not have inherited wealth , they worked damn hard to get where they are so why should they cough up for lazy bastards who can't be bothered?

          Also in most countries the more you earn the greater percentage you get taxed so the richer people do pay more than the poorer. I'm not sure what else you want? Perhaps everyone to earn the same as in stalinist russia? Brain surgeon earning the same as

    • by sifi (170630)

      I agree, plus we are effectively subsidising people who live outside cities - am I'm willing to bet that in general that the demographic of these people will not be towards the low end of the income scale.

  • by auric_dude (610172) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @06:26AM (#28359413)
    A quick glance at http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/3994-the-digital-britain-report-is-finally-out.html [thinkbroadband.com] will show what some think of this and http://www.thinkbroadband.com/ [thinkbroadband.com] gives a wider view of ISP related moans with links to other ISPs information.
  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @06:31AM (#28359431) Homepage

    According to the article, the government is going to be getting the ISPs to do their dirty work for them, whatever we have as an RIAA/MPAA equivalent, and the police:

    it will "place an obligation on ISPs to maintain records of the most frequent offenders, which would allow rights holders to take targeted legal action against these infringers."

    Sounds like they're making the ISPs track down the sharers so that the rights holders can just cherry-pick from a list. Sounds like a bad situation for the ISPs to get in to with things like "common carrier" statuses.

    Finally, ISPs will be roped in to protect copyright material, restricting bandwidth to known filesharers, and even blocking access to certain protocols entirely.

    Again, looks like the ISPs aren't just going to be "carriers" any more. Could be quite a bad precedent (for the ISPs, at least). Also, what's the betting that a) the protocol blocks will be a blanket ban on BitTorrent, meaning that legitimate downloads (like Linux ISOs) will also be affected and b) they'll do it in such a way that's easily circumventable?

    • According to the article, the government is going to be getting the ISPs to do their dirty work for them, whatever we have as an RIAA/MPAA equivalent, and the police:

      That's exactly right. Reading chapter 4, it's clear that the only legislative change they will push for is to bring punishments for 'non-physical' copying in line with those already in place for 'physical copying'... but in both cases, only if the copying is done for SALE or HIRE or in the course of running a business (see s107 of the CDPA

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        If you think it's such a problem then make it a criminal offence. Don't force ISPs to do it for you.

        Surely that's part of the problem - it already is a criminal offence to do most of the things that the government wants to cover with laws like this. Copyright infringement is already a crime, just not one with a particularly high punishment and so personal instances (e.g. BitTorrent usage for MP3s) isn't prosecuted much.

        I hope you're right, but I think you might be a bit optimistic. Even if the Labour govern

    • I believe no such thing exists in the UK.

      This is why ISPs could freely implement deep packet inspection, phorm and so on without even asking anyone first as opposed to the US where the FCC etc. investigated usage of DPI in trying to disrupt Bittorrent.

  • by guruevi (827432) <<evi> <at> <smokingcube.be>> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @06:40AM (#28359483) Homepage

    Oh yeah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Service_Fund [wikipedia.org]

    The goals of Universal Service are:
    To promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates,
    To increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout the Nation,
    To advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular, and high cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas.

    We saw where that went.

    • Where did it go, exactly? Want to let the rest of us in on the secret? Maybe it's common knowledge to you and your little crowd, but come on, get your head out of the clouds.

      PS in a list like that, you need semicolons instead of commas.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @07:09AM (#28359619)

    Since theres now going to be a tax for the underclass and people who are too tight to pay for broadband themselves shall we assume there'll also need to be a tax for these people to be given computers to use on said service?

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @07:40AM (#28359803) Journal
    Just yeterday NPR had a bit about some kind of tax in Britain called "the license fee" that runs for about 200$ a year for every TV set owned by the Brits. And the money apparently goes to fund BBC. Once you pay 15$ a month to get Brit version of PBS, why not 50$ for all of the internet at full speed?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dominic (3849)

      It's not every TV, it's every household. If you own several TVs you just pay the one fee.

      Anyway, I'd still happily pay twice as much if it keeps adverts out and generally stops our TV turning into some US-style brainless mess of right-wing nutjob shouting programmes.

      • by arethuza (737069)
        I know it is a TV license, but I would happily pay the license fee just for Radio 4 (OK apart from Moneybox).
        • I would pay the licence fee (for BBC radio 3 and 4) if TVL (television licensing) weren't such complete pains.

          Interestingly, it appears that the more uncooperative you are with them the less they hassle you. (Perhaps not surprising in that, AIUI, they actually achieve all their convictions due to self incrimination)

          But the thought of the anguish it would cause if I bought a licence to support the BBC and then didn't renew it at some time in the future is sufficient to ensure that I'll never buy one. (I've a

    • Moving quickly on from your flamebait title, the licence fee is a stupid example.

      Let's assume you are average and watch 70 days of TV per year. About 11 days of that will be adverts.
      That's 75 cents an hour that advertiser pays network, for the product, ie: you to consume the ads.

      Wow, that licence fee is starting to look like good value. Unless your day job pays less than 75c or your want to cut out the TV all together.

  • by slashbart (316113) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @07:48AM (#28359831) Homepage
    In France you can get 3.6MB/s satellite internet for 40 euro per month [numeo.fr]. So why would you pull cables? Only hardcore gamers will be in trouble, ping times of 600 ms are typical. But then, keep the gamers in the city please :-)
  • The Carter Report is a fatally compromised blueprint for subversion that attempts to extend government control into a surprisingly vast array of areas.

    1. Television. The existing licence fee is an outrage when the BBC via BBC Worldwide make heaps of money and yet refuse to make available their back catalogue for the benefit of the entire nation (well, they do but for a steep price). The report suggests we preserve the licence fee but siphon more off to commercial and quasi-commercial broadcasters?! Insane.

  • There are only two things sure in life : Death and Taxes
  • by naich (781425) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:15AM (#28360029) Homepage

    I really do not like the way that most news outlets say that "file sharing" is illegal. It's not. Sharing *copyrighted* files is but in itself, the act of sharing isn't. The distinction is an an important one as producers of open source and even some musicians use sharing to their advantage, but it seems to be getting increasingly lost in the noise.

    The danger is that the credibility of these new models will be eroded over time with the repetition of the general concept that sharing is wrong.

  • by Toy G (533867) <toyg@NOspaM.libero.it> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @08:25AM (#28360115) Homepage Journal

    They can say what they want, but next year the Tories will win and scrap most of this plan.

    The Tories are not in bed with telcos, credit-card manufacturers and "creative industries", they have different sponsors (oil companies, "old money", etc). The flow of pork will be redirected accordingly. This report is hardly worth the digital paper it is printed on.

  • If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
    If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

    Now my advice for those who die
    Declare the pennies on your eyes
    'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
    And you're working
    for no one but me.

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