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Universal 2mbps Broadband Costs To Add £6 Levy Per Household

Yet another tax will be introduced by the government to finance the investment needed to provide faster internet access to rural areas, the so-called "not-spots"; for that a £6 annual fee will be slapped on all phone lines in the country.

The proposal was one of the highlights of Lord Carter's Digital Britain report and paves the way for an era where every household in the country will get a 2mbps broadband line by 2012 and where 90 percent of the UK population will be able to download music tracks in seconds by 2017.

Around 11 percent of UK households - 2.8 million - are not able to reach the minimum speed of 2mbps making them digital pariah. The speed, Lord Carter told ZDNet, is a floor, not a ceiling, adding that "We are not saying that 2Mbps is the height of our ambition". This goal is likely to be achieved using a combination of fixed line, mobile and satellite broadband solutions.

Over the next three years, £200 million will be diverted from the BBC Licence fee to fund BT's roll out of its next generation network which will be the backbone of Britain's superfast broadband - or so we all hope.

By the government's own estimates, the fund should bring in around £150 million a year which, by all accounts, is a rather measly sum. That would amount to a two percent increase over the average annual phone bill when it is introduced by 2013.

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One of the arguments used by the government to justify the tax is that the price of phone service has been falling down significantly over the last few years. The monnies collected by the ISPs and phone providers will be paid into a Next Generation Fund which will be run by the Telecommunications watchdog, Ofcom.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.