UK Gov To Use BBC Licence Fee For Broadband Expansion

The Conservative/Liberal government has highlighted plans to use a portion of the BBC TV Licence fees to fund the expansion of high speed broadband in the country if needed.

The coalition government revealed, in its programme (PDF document here) for government document unveiled today, that if necessary, it will consider using part of the TV Licence fee that is supporting the digital switchover to fund "broadband in areas that the market alone will not reach".

The new broadband minister, Ed Vaizey, will also seek to ensure that the various players in the broadband market use their existing infrastructure to deliver internet access to digitally deprived areas.

The government will also encourage the roll out of superfast broadband from thom the likes fo Virgin Media and BT. The licence fee "tax" generates around £3.4 billion every year and has to be paid by every households or business with a TV access either terrestrial, by satellite or online.

The former Labour government came under fire for coming up with a 50p monthly fee on all landlines which would have been used for the same purpose. These plans were quickly dismissed by the current government.

A spokesperson for the BBC trust told the BBC news technology website that "We note the reference to the possible use of an element of the licence fee on broadband roll out. We look forward to discussing this with the Government."