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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 (opens in new tab)) 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 (opens in new tab) 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."

Désiré Athow
Contributor

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 ITProPortal.com 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.