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What's the best way to get Britain online?

09:22 UK time, Monday, 22 March 2010

Gordon Brown has announced new measures to make super-fast broadband available to every UK household within ten years. How should this be funded?

The government's proposing a 50-pence-a-month levy on landlines to pay for a high speed network in rural areas. The Prime Minister claimed broadband access brought educational, economic and social advantages, and to deny remote areas a fast connection would create a 'digital divide' within Britain. He also announced plans to move services such as job centres and tax offices online, which he said would be cheaper and more efficient.

The Conservatives have also pledged to deliver universal broadband - but they oppose the tax. Instead they say improvements could be funded by forcing BT to open its network to competitors, or if necessary, by diverting money from the BBC licence fee.

Would you be willing to pay for universal broadband? Should the state intervene to ensure rural areas don't miss out? Do you feel your area has missed out due to slower connection speeds? What do you think of proposals to move government services online?


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  • Comment number 1.

    This project should be funded out of M.P's expenses with no questions asked!

  • Comment number 2.

    Like everything this Government does, it won't happen. The tax will be used to fund free drugs for students or something.

  • Comment number 3.

    The government's idea of "super fast internet" is very much out of date.

    50mbs internet is available now to anybody with cable internet.

    What the government should do is ensure that everybody has access to cable.

    I don't have cable internet, but I still get 24mbs internet through my copper wire phone line (despite BT telling me that the fastest I could get would be 9mbs).

    All I can say to people is that if you shop around, super-fast broadband is already there. Unless you live out in the stix, of course.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is an aweful idea. Tax everyone for the privelage of very few. I believe they deserve to have a link to the internet in rural areas but dont believe it should be a super fast connection that you get in densly populated areas. Some people move to rural areas to get rid of the city. A lot of these areas are happy enough with an internet connection in a local building. The internet is available to most people. O2 offer a dongle to plug into your computer and connects like a mobile phone.

  • Comment number 5.

    Two start with fiber to the green box, then no property under 2.5km from a green box and no shaired lines.

    Allow BT to install all green boxes and rent the ADSL linesw a cost + small profit to all providers.

    Spend the cash that will be gererated from the TV radio badwidth freed up from the digital switch over.... or the 24Billion for the 3g sell off 10 years ago.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why do we all the country online, whats wrong with going out and interacting face to face? I have broadband at home but hardly use it, why should i when i use it at work, its a luxury i could do without but feel i am being forced to have it!

  • Comment number 7.

    I am really sceptical about Gordon's reasons for this in the quasi police state he has created. I'd rather he spent his "precious" time dealing with real issues. I expect what this means in practice is that the unemployable will get another freebie at the expense of those that work.

  • Comment number 8.

    It should be funded as it is now, ie. if you want broadband, then you pay for it ! Everyone seems to have a mobile phone glued to their ears which they either pay for under a contract, or pay as you go. People must prioritize where to spend their money. Phones, fags, booze, holidays, cars, or broadband. We do not live in an ideal world.

  • Comment number 9.

    Before they start bringing super fast broadband to all households they need to start bringing normal broadband to some.

    My best mate, who lives in an inner city tower block, is unable to have broadband access at all.

  • Comment number 10.

    What is wrong with the so-called service providers coughing up for it? As usual, the taxpayer will end up paying for something others will profit from, as with road, rail, water, electricity, gas and telephony infrastructure. Britain's infrastructure is nowhere near as good as it ought to be and in certain aspects; i.e. high speed rail, is decades behind the rest of Europe.

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with the approach the Conservative are developing, Don't take the knee jerk Socialist path of imposing another tax; force BT to open its network to competitors and divert money from the BBC licence fee.

  • Comment number 12.

    The Digital Economy bill will mean those with no desire to have broadband will be paying for a service that they have no intention of using, sort of technological luddites.
    BT has already opened its phonelines to competitors.
    Korea has internet speeds of 100MB across the country, if they can manage it we have no excuse however the people who should be paying for this is the internet companies - after all they are the ones that will benefit financially.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am sure my mother is not the only person in the UK who is a technophobe and is stuck in the 50's/60's. So why should she accept broadband and in the meantime, pay it as a levy to BT?
    She is coming up to 77 and has never had a video player, let alone a DVD player. I bought her a video player, years ago, but she never used it.
    She does not have a mobile phone and despite my brothers and I trying to get her to have one as she goes for long walks in the countryside and over the Salisbury Plain, she has refused, point blank, even though it could save her life.
    We had to get her a Freeview Box as she was content with her 4 TV channels (no Channel 5 reception in her village!) and was prepared to have NO TV rather than go digital in the next few days.
    She has lost the Post O

  • Comment number 14.

    It is morally wrong to penalise everyone who has a phone line, because not everyone thinks the internet is best thing since sliced bread or wants it.
    The fairest way to pay for the upgrade of the telephone systems to provide internet is to make every ISP pay an equal share of the upgrade cost regardless of location or service. They can then recover the costs through those who use the service.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why am I not surprised that the government wants to give free computers and broadband to benefits bozos whilst I have to pay for my own broadband plus computer plus a subsidy (50p)to subsidise those who can't be bothered to work?

    This is so wrong. I work hard to gain the advantage of having broadband and those that don't work get it for free - why do I bother?

  • Comment number 16.

    What I didn't hear Brown say was that he was going to help set up a UK broadband technology company that would develop and manufacture the hardware we need and of course sell it to the wider world.

    Leading the world by buying other people's kit is easy but strategically naive. Let'd do something right for a change.

  • Comment number 17.

    I loathe the conservatives but on this policy their idea is better, there should be no cross subsidy within BT's internet service and an appropriate charge should be made for those using rather than those who have no wish to like my elderly parents, despite living within 500m of the exchange they do not use the internet at all typical of Brown the cost of everything and the value of nothing!

  • Comment number 18.

    You can't make it so that everyone has to have access to broadband.

    Access to broadband involves much more than being able to buy it if you want.

    Even if every house has a free broadband connection, how are you going to use it? You'll need a PC (or console or whatever)? So, are you going to give the unemployed free PCs? And what do you do when some of them 'lose' those PCs for the price of a few crates of beer? Do you give them another one, so they can 'lose' that as well?

    So, you can't possibly move services such as benefits online. And given the government's history of IT projects, I'm not sure it would actually be cheaper anyway...

    Bring back post offices...

  • Comment number 19.

    How are they going to fund it when they have spent all out tax money on the banks. Gordon Brown is living in dream land !

  • Comment number 20.

    Broadband should be implemented by companies that are in that business and paid for by the customers who want it. There is no need for the government or Gordon Brown to get involved. By comparison every adult who wants a mobile phone now has one – this was achieved with no input or meddling from the state. If this approach works for mobile phones it can work for broadband too.
    Why is a prime minister getting involved in such a minor detail of administration anyway? Might it be because there is an election coming up and a headline with the words “Gordon Brown” and “broadband“ in it might get a few votes from the “Internet generation” – many of whom will be voting for the first time in the forthcoming election.

  • Comment number 21.

    Why should I pay an extra 50p a month so that someone living in the countryside can get faster broadband? I live in the city centre and already pay the high council tax and high rent that allows me the convenience to walk to work and enjoy my high speed broadband. If I chose to live in the countryside with the benefits of the peace and quiet, etc, then the slow internet speed would be my problem.

    It's along the same lines as if I decided to move out of the city centre but expected everyone to pay 50p a month extra so that I could buy a jetpack and get to work in the same length of time!

  • Comment number 22. once again i'm taxed so that the lazy idle scroungers and benefit cheats can have broadband...just as i'm taxed to provide them with everything else they need..??????? still i suppose with the internet they'll be able to work out even more ways to cheat the system.!!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    It should be funded by the principle of supply, demand and competition. It must not be funded by yet another Labour stealth tax.

  • Comment number 24.

    There is absolutely no need for everyone in the country to be 'online'. There are many people who have little knowledge of Internet security who, if they are forced online, will be vulnerable to online scams and phishing attacks. The only winners will be the shops that operate online which stand to make more profit at the expense of traditional local shops while avoiding tax by basing their business abroad.

  • Comment number 25.

    #10. At 10:07am on 22 Mar 2010, Neil Probert wrote:
    “What is wrong with the so-called service providers coughing up for it?”

    That’s a very good question.

    Why aren’t the service providers paying for it, since it is the service providers who will profit from it?

  • Comment number 26.

    The moment Gordon Brown mentions those magic words "for all" my wallet goes ouch!
    This is revenue raising, pure and simple and its chances of influencing Telecoms Companies is minimal.
    I suppose Gordon is looking to BT to provide this but had he or his minions spent 30 seconds on BT's Web site he would have discovered that BT is planning fibre to the home to cover most of the country in 2011/2012.
    They are still suffering from the same terminal disease Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend, Tax and Spend ad infinitum.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mr Brown.
    Britain is at a tipping point.
    This may be the straw that breaks the mule's back.

    Taxation has been soaring recently, and this tax is unnecessary.
    If you add any more taxes to my burden, then I'll not pay ANY tax.

    Arrest me, send me to court, pay for my prison. You'll have even less money, and I'll still not be paying anything.

  • Comment number 28.

    The goverment should make sure that everyone has access to cable at the moment unless you live the south east of england BT are are not interested in putting in cable.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yet another proposed tax by Brown & Co.
    He could pay for it using the money he and Darling have withheld for our pensions.
    Or cancel MP's expenses that eould probably pay for the whole programme.

  • Comment number 30.

    What a complete load of tosh! The Government does NOT provide Broadband, or has Gordon suddenly become the MD of Virgin or BT etc. without my noticing?

    Once again, it's all promise and no delivery. For goodness sake, let's get rid of this man and his merry band of fools at the next election; the country can't afford him!!

  • Comment number 31.

    If rural internet induces more of the urban masses to move to the country I am all against it. Far too many have contaminated the countryside already.

    In general terms, whoever will finally make profits should invest in internet access at any speed. If it is in the national interest, then taxpayers money could be used, so long as a dividend is paid in perpetuity. Sadly NuLab cannot distinguish between investment and expenditure.

  • Comment number 32.

    Oh - a new tax - what a good idea.
    I wonder what proportion will be used to actually fund faster broadband - 1%, perhaps..? Too optimistic, maybe..??

  • Comment number 33.

    Dont we pay enough taxes ?
    Its a good idea but its not fair on all of us who pay tax, unless they take away the television licence, or lower fuel prices or something.

    it wont get done anyway with our government.

    Jermony Clarkson for prime minister!

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm so flaming angry about this! If YOU want Broadband YOU pay for it - I do!!

  • Comment number 35.

    How about those who want it, pay for it? Many of those on line today had to, including me!

  • Comment number 36.

    Another pre-election gimmick; I seem to remember that we were promised 10+ years ago that every house in the country would have cable TV etc. No sign of it yet round here. Superfast broadband will doubtless go the same way.
    We get around 2Mbps round here, which is more than adequate for most domestic use, unless you want to gamble your life away.

  • Comment number 37.

    Get Steven Byers on board, i'm sure he'll find a way to fund it, with his business contacts, or why not let all those lovely politicians who want our vote in May to put there dirty grubby corrupt short armed hands into there very deep pockets weighed down with all that tax free cash that they offloaded from the British public or perhaps we could ask those lovely banker fellows at RBS to help get everybody on broadband so that they can check there on-line accounts to ensure they haven't been dipped into overnight for another government bailout.
    Not that in anyway I think this government is nothing other than an upstanding pillar of our community, & their linkage to our banking system is purely to protect the tax payers interest,
    By the way anyone suggested our old mate Tony Blair's oil slush fund might come in handy, but hey we'll never know will we, after all Iraq was in our best interests!Keep those oil prices rising boys!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    It should be funded out of general taxation. It is unfair to charge a levy on landlines as some people don't necesarily have internet access, these are often the poorest sections of the community. Why should they fund the expansion.
    Additionally the principle is wrong, as I can think of many things the government could try and place a levy on and argue it is to fund something. At the end of the day it is a tax and should not be called something else.

  • Comment number 39.

    Continued ...
    My elderly mother has seen the Post Office in the village closed and the bus to the next village has also stopped, so she now has a minimum 6 mile bus ride to the nearest town to get to the Post Office for her money and from the bank.

    She is not interested in the least about the internet, so why should she pay for these works via her BT phone bill?
    A better way to fun it has to be found.

  • Comment number 40.

    This is all about another stealth tax on an existing tax. Landlines already attract 17.50% tax called VAT!??????????????

    NO, NO, NO. Gordon - use the VAT you charge already! Ooops, forgot landline/cable providers already use that VAT input on the money markets each quarter before it goes in output to unelected EU Commission?

  • Comment number 41.

    If and when it does happen and everybody has a good enough wifi conection the goverment is hoping that people will want to share theirs with others.
    So like the old easter europeen blocks in the winter. If one person in the block of flats can't afford heating then the ones with more money can help them out.
    Now do this on wifi in Britain and all you have is petty greedy people that wouldn't want to pay.
    Even the goverment ministers in this country would refuse.
    Good old British Greed
    Its the only way to keep a country in the dark ages!.
    Some of the comment on here prove that..

  • Comment number 42.

    The service providers will not profit for anything that happeneds in the future and they know this..
    It can and will only go wifi.
    Some clever rich dying man will one day send up a satellite and the internet will again become the peoples! not just the censors not just the companies.
    And at that point..... they will find a way to make you pay!!

  • Comment number 43.

    I already pay for my broadband - if you want it, why shouldn't you pay for it yourself?

    Unless the idea is to provide it as a free service for all funded from taxation, which to my mind would be an abuse of the system, leave those who want it to pay for it, and those who do not want it or cannot afford it to go without.

    Heck, I'd like a new car, but until I can afford one I still drive one older than my Year 8 daughter! I don't expect those who do have newer cars to contribute to mine.

    I'm happy to contribute to the tax pot so that essential services like education, health & social care, fire brigades, police and courts, are properly funded, but this is ridiculous!

  • Comment number 44.

    Hardly a vote winner, this is really scraping the bottom of am empty barrel.

  • Comment number 45.

    Before any of the privately owned telecommunications were given a licence to enter the market it should have been a condition that they would supply anyone who asked for a service, with that service, at the same price that they supply the rest of the UK.

    Ever since Maggie sold the country’s assets off to the highest bidder. All privately owned utilities have been able to cherry pick their customers based on the amount of profit or if they could extract a high enough profit.

    High speed broadband should be rolled by nationwide.

    It should be paid for by the Telecommunication company’s.

    If they cant or wont then take away their licence.

  • Comment number 46.

    Yep, that's enough Gordon .. refer to my post #40. Want to still believe in Labour, but this is a reflection of your obsession with scams?

    For example: How to make a £million? Take £1 from a million people for 10p value = a scam?

    Crooks, criminals, low lifes etc., will benefit as they increasingly move to computer crime.

    Grow up Gordon, you really should be as cynical as your stealth taxes?

  • Comment number 47.

    Whenever the Clown makes these sweeping promises he seems to forget that some people are too poor to buy computers and get online and some people are to elderly to embrace the technology. It really annoys me that when yo telephone someone they "insist" you go online or they don't provide a telephone number. I have decided that if I am thinking of buying from a business, if their telephone nuber is not readily accessable, they do not get my custom.

  • Comment number 48.

    Internet provision by private companies will never be universally satisfactory. They will want to maximise profit, so they will try to "cherry pick" the most profitable areas and neglect the others. This results is wasteful competitive duplication in some areas and poor services in others.

    The solution is to set up a publicly owned corporation, with a monopoly as the basic carrier and an obligation to offer identical services everywhere at standard charges. In other words to apply the same business model as was invented for the "penny post".

    This model allowed cheap and efficient communication throughout the UK for the first time, and was copied throughout the world. In spite of giving in to well paid lobbyists and hiving off profitable parts of the postal services to private companies, no one has yet devised an efficient alternative to the Royal Mail for daily delivery to every door in the country.

    It is sad that pressure from private business interests is now so great, that instead of using a well tried model, the government is to resort to levying a tax on land lines, in order to bribe private companies to provide an approximation to a universal service.

  • Comment number 49.

    This is a politician talking - every word is carefully chosen. What does he mean by 'available'? Knowing how MPs work, he means it in the same way that fee-paying education is 'available' - no geographical restrictions, but not everyone will be able to afford it. To get a 50mbps service to my door will be interesting: I am (literally) at the end of the line and BT would need to run 5.5 kilometres of fibre from the local exchange. The whole village here is on twisted pair - even fibre to the [village] cabinet will require 5 km of cable. In today's profit-driven era, how do you think BT will afford this 'investment' in high speed for all? I am paying £30 a month for unlimited business-class broadband from BT (the sole provider at my local exchange) and struggling to get 1mbps. You can bet your boots that if BT is forced to run fibre to my door it will cost me way, way more: 'Available'? Yes. 'Affordable'? No - and that's why you have to watch what MPs say.

  • Comment number 50.

    What is wrong with satellite broadband?

    There are companies offering 2-way satellite broadband in the UK for about £35 a month, which would be fine for general email/web browsing (but not for streaming video, VOIP or games - but why should the taxpayer fund those).

  • Comment number 51.

    If we got out of the European Union we could save the taxpayer £1m per hour net membership fee and a similar amount can be save by not having to implement daft EU directives.

    That's £50m a day folks! A hell of a lot of fast broadband - and lots more hospitals, bank bailouts, tax cuts, pension increases and even duck houses.

    Remember this at the ballot box.

  • Comment number 52.

    No to a Telephone tax!

  • Comment number 53.

    As private ISPs are, and will be, charging us higher prices for faster connection speeds, then THEY should be providing towards the infrastructure - cable, fibre or whatever

    We know that government is keen to move it's operations online, thereby not having to deal with the public directly. Another form of control of the masses in which the beaurocracy will be even LESS accountable

    Keep ALL government away from our internet

  • Comment number 54.

    Madness from sssh - don't say anything on this site without being .. u know what?

    Seriously? recommend posts thus far: #1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,18,20,21,22?

    Is this allowed?

  • Comment number 55.


    How about nationalising BT and they can get superfast broadband to everyone as a public duty.

    Let's call them Post Office Telephones and paint their vans yellow.

    Now that's what I call progress.

  • Comment number 56.

    This is a completely spurious load of cobblers. Anyone can get online who has a traditional telephone line - unless they live in a remote place. The 50p tax on telephone lines is just another con job by the masters of taxing the poor to death by a thousand cuts, the Labour party.

  • Comment number 57.

    Let the service providers pay. They made a right mess of our roads and pavements laying cables. It's payback time.

  • Comment number 58.

    As most business operates on line and its they who want you to buy goods,transact insurance,pay bills etc;it should be them who pay for it.BT have had a monopoly for years on landlines and still drag their feet because they dont want to lose that edge.A contribution from each company(small)would be sufficent to kit everyone out and then all business could be conducted on line-a real benefit and saving to business in general.You have to speculate to accumulate.

  • Comment number 59.

    The UK is heavily in debt and wants taxpayers to pay for every home to have high-speed broadband. This will cost a fortune and increase the debt. How many people really want broadband, but haven't got it already? Do we really want to dig up rural areas so that a few people can have access to broadband, at a high cost for taxpayers?

    As library users have access to the internet, wouldn't it be better to encourage more people to use libraries, rather than cutting back on library use?

    How many people people really need to twitter their lives away?

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm sorry, run this past me again. The taxpayer (yes, old money bags, bottomless pockets taxpayer!)has to fork out for increased broadband speeds. The telecoms industry has been in private hands for many years now, and I see absolutely NO need whatsoever for a profitable part of the PRIVATE SECTOR to get this kind of support. The market will determine how quickly and how extensively fast broadband is available. The key thing actually is the availability of cable, but that is another story. In any case, didn't the Govt sell off some extremely lucrative licences a few year ago (exact name escapes me), so why don't they use some of that money - ooops silly me, that already been poured into the welfare state, or some insane war - when, oh when, will I learn that commonsense plays no part whatsoever in the running of this country!! If the broadband tax is needed to help plug the horrendous gap in our national finances, then why not simply have the courage and decency to treat us like adults and just say so!?

  • Comment number 61.

    This is an issue between the ISP and the customer. What has the government got to do with it? This is another stealth tax scam.

  • Comment number 62.

    Before getting this sorted out:

    Can I have all the taxes I pay on fuel and registration to be spent on the roads?
    Can I have my council tax spent on the streetlights and bin collections?
    Can I have my income tax spent on running THIS country?
    Can I have my NI spent on the NHS?
    Can I have my VAT spent on improving the infrastructure of our manufacturing base?

    Mr Brown - I only ask because that's s LOT of 50p pieces. Is it for superfast broadband, or do you want another Polaris missile?

    Rubbish idea.

  • Comment number 63.

    The super-fast network should be built using ISP money. They should club together to create the network then they can compete for customers. This is a similar model to the existing network rail / train companies arrangement.

    Is a government subsidy required to kick-start this? No, but the government could provide an organisational impetus by creating the body that is to build the network. The ISPs would be required to contribute via an act of parliament.

  • Comment number 64.

    50p/month this year.
    £1.50/month next year.
    £6.50/month the year after.
    £25.50/month in 4 years time.


    £235.76/month in 20 years time.

  • Comment number 65.

    Gordon is having one of his saving the world delusions again.

    By putting all the public services online you are forever committing the country to providing free broadband connections, computer equipment, IT training etc to those 'economically inactive' people who are the ones who depend upon those services.

    Plus MPs known nothing about IT; they just quiver with excitement at the 'brave shiny new world' they perceive technology to be and start handing out blank cheques.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't think it's the ordinary man in the streets duty to pay for this. If you live out in the country, you know that you may have to drive to the nearest town to do shopping or fill up on petrol.

    Why not the same for internet? So long as there is a public library or internet cafe within 15-20 miles, I don't see why you can't use that.

    Eventually high speed internet will reach the whole country but not until it's economically viable.

  • Comment number 67.

    The 50p a month levy is not right, it will not work, and it will not be used for the purpose it will be intended for.
    It is simply another stealth tax introduced by the rogues at Parliament.
    What about the people who have NO intention of ever getting a PC, have absolutely NO interest in the internet, but do have a telephone? They are still being MADE to fund those who do!
    Once again this inept government (and the house of lords) have shown how incompetent they really are.

  • Comment number 68.

    Why? The man must live in cloud cuckoo land. There are a lot over 60 and even some in the 50s are not interested and never will be.
    So stop plugging for the rest of us to pay for something which is not wanted.
    It really is a discrete way of getting money off us.

  • Comment number 69.

    Stealth tax, stealth tax, stealth tax.

    The private sector will provide the service
    if it is valued.

    There is no reason for the government control
    machine to get involved other than getting their
    hands on a new stream of taxes from a highly
    inelastic demand.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just one quick question:

    An internet connection, no matter how fast, depends on power. What are we all going to do when electricity demand exceeds electricity supply?

    Power cuts will come as a big surprise to those who haven't prepared.

  • Comment number 71.

    Come on - everybody must realise this is merely another manifestation of that great tradition of state organised welfare for the wealthy elites!

    The ONLY people to benefit for this little scam will be the shareholders of the fascist corporations!

    And I do not understand why anyone is fooled by this kind of smoke and mirror trick - As far as I am aware the urban dweller already pay for their access to broadband and the Rural populations are mostly wealthy farmers and mansion owners who can afford to pay for it themselves! The companies supply such services can afford to invest in the latest technology - if they had to compete in a free market - trouble is the industry is not exposed to such competition is it?

    I know - lets all pay yet another tax to benefit wealthy elite thugs running these corporations! What a terrific idea! Your sacrifice for the 'greater good' always involves a benefit to somebody who by definition is not required to make a sacrifice themselves! Sounds like a perfect con to me - if you are a wealthy elite maintaining your power/wealth by convincing the masses its in their own interest to make such sacrifices! You will count the pennies and we will count the pounds!!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    I keep banging on about this, but I'll give up my landline rather than pay this 50p. per month tax. I have a BT landline and can't get broadband at all, we're deemed too far away from the exchange. So why should I pay for some people to get superfast broadband when I can't get it at all? I'm not alone in this situation, there are business located in the same area and, I've no doubt, other areas who are hampered by the fact that they can't get a broadband connection. That aside, does Gordon and his cronies really think we can all be so easily duped? Another silly promise of a little jam on the bread to make us believe they care, or even know, about the opinions of the voters. Anyone swayed by the 'too little too late' incentives being bandied about by Labour is in serious need of psychiatric help.

  • Comment number 73.

    As soon as the state has anything to do with it , it spells cost for the taxpayer, the £6 per year will, like the TV licence quickly turn into £100 + per year or worse. The government cannot be trusted to deliver anything it promises without stinging those who work and can pay and using this revenue to benefit the workshy.

  • Comment number 74.

    The biggest spur to BT and others to upgrate an area to Fiber to the cabinet is the presence of competition in the form of cable TV availability.

    New speed improvements always roll-out first in these areas, meaning that there is duplication in these aeeas and the reszt of the country get left behind.

    Making communications providers pay a tax on every line in an area capable of receiving a reliable internet connection of over, say, 4Mbps (increasing to 6, 8... as coverage at this speed improves) and using this to fund improvements in areas (not all of which are rural) that can only receive speeds less than this might be an option.

    Requiring telcos (including un-bundled local-loop providers) to upgrade one line in a non-cable area for every line upgraded in a cable area might also be a good option.

    What is aterrible idea is to tax the have-nots to pay for the haves to get an even better service - whch is what the telcos will do!

  • Comment number 75.

    This has nothing to do with the greater good.

    It is about savings for the government, which will not be passed on. If everyone is "encouraged" to use the internet at home, more and more front line face to face services can be cut back, for example your former local post office, DVLA offices etc. Then if we are all online if they wish, the Politburo can relativly easily monitor(thanks to existing laws) your browsing habits, fine you for downloading that Celine Dion track and perhaps view what comments you make on a blog from your ip address.(oh dear...)

    To the moderators: can I just say Gordon and Peter are doing a great job ruining the UK (sorry "running) and despite mountains of evidence to the contrary have no way bankrupted this country and turned it into a neocommunist state.

  • Comment number 76.

    Yes because of course, the most pressing issue facing our country at present is that Joe Bloggs living out in the sticks can't acces Facebook as quickly as .

    I find anything like this outrageous, the scheme awarding "grants" worth £500+ to low income families, not only giving them a laptop but even paying their boradband bills for a year! What about the families who exceed the threshold slightly but would still struggle to find £500 for a laptop? We're just slowly eroding any motivation to go out and earn a decent living! If you can't afford it - the state will give it to you for nothing.

    Ensure that internet access is available in public spaces, such as libraries and schools, this will allow access for all. If those on benefits want to sit in the comfort of their own homes online and neglecting their kids all day, let them pay for it themselves (or rather, pay for it out of the benefits the taxpayer gives them - we lose out either way but at least this way those on benefits would have to sacrifice their fags or something!).

  • Comment number 77.

    There appears to be muddled thinking here. People seem to be of the belief that running water, electricity, gas and such are rights, and now want to count electronic communication in with that.
    There are places on our own mainland where electricity and gas don't venture, and many places that are not connected to mains water. So the aspiration of having broadband for everyone is futile in the first place.

    However, if one is going to have an aspiration then it should be a stretch. Instead of looking to increase speeds to 20Mbs, still slower than even Bulgaria is already rolling out, we should be aspiring to top-end speeds with home-grown providers pushing us to the front of technology supply.

  • Comment number 78.

    why on earth does the government want internet for everyone. The majority of people are elderly or possibly blind or disabled or dont understand it. Cant us the general public decide if we want broadband or not. Why should this be so important to them unless of course there is money involved for them somewhere along the line. Just another uneccessary idea from the government. Time this government came into the real world and understood what people want and its definately not broadband

  • Comment number 79.

    I know: let the Government impliment it, then it's bound to be a riproaring success!
    By 2032 every house in the country (excluding Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and parts of Hackney) will be wired to a World-beating 2MBPS and paid for by scrapping the bottom rate of income tax, and getting rid of the unneccesary parts of the health service (casualty, operating theatres etc). Easy acces to the t'internet can be made by plugging your computer in to the socket using a round-pin bakelite plug. If you don't own a cmputer you can join the Government's "Internet for All" scheme where you lease a state-of-the-art Decca Dancette (capable of playing records at both 33 AND 45 rpm!) from the private leasing company and regulated by the small (2 clerks and 85 managers, plus a directrate of 8 and additional outside consultants) and powered by world-standard 117volts DC electric from the next generation of "green" poer stations (hamsters running round those little wheels).
    The project was only 6 times over budget and the network reached it's northern extent, Neasden in just 32 years.
    In order to avoid overloading the network, access is restricted to only Government approved sites, including "" and ""

  • Comment number 80.

    I think it's definitely a right to have access to the internet.. but who should foot the bill? Probably the same people who pay for the fundamental right of our water supply - ourselves.

  • Comment number 81.

    Why does a government web site need to be so bandwidth hungry? I'm sure all the services that are needed could be delivered on 56k lines if they were designed to not be so flashy.

  • Comment number 82.

    It should be funded the same way as i got mine, i paid for it and i am not paying for anyone else.

  • Comment number 83.

    So that's how labour propose to pay off the defecit - another stealth tax.
    Internet Access despite Gordons spouting to the contrary is NOT a basic human right.

    If you want the internet and you don't have it at home, then go to your local library where it is free!

    This is just pandering for votes!

  • Comment number 84.

    If Gordon Brown wants a level playing field, and for everyone to subsidise each other, fine but why am i paying six times as much for my water in Plymouth while he pays one sixth of my cost in London?

  • Comment number 85.

    Keep this government away from it and it just might be a success. Why must their fingers be in everyone's pie?
    What on earth is fair about everyone paying a stealth tax to make sure broadband is available to some unfortunate rural areas?
    I'm happy with my fairly slow broadband service and don't see why others should pay to give me a super fast package.
    If GB has his way and services such as Job Centres and Tax offices go online then expect the dole queues to grow.

  • Comment number 86.

    Given some of the comments on here I've come to the considered belief that we shouldn't give the Internet to everyone, and that - for the sake of humankind - it would be better to remove it from some people.

    It's for their own good.

  • Comment number 87.

    An election on the horizon, so the politicians are putting their "bribes" in the shop front. Fast Broadband! Tax the Banks! There are good times just around the corner? Purleeease! Start talking about something that really matters!

  • Comment number 88.

    #27 Rob

    I like this healthy rebellion. It gives me a lot of hope that the UK is sharpening its nails ready to strike back. Governance costs the normal person a huge sum of cash each and every day, and most of it is a necessary as a headache. Can we get back to simple things for the State to do; number one on my list is to shut up for a few years.

  • Comment number 89.

    So everyone must have superfast broadband eh? What utter rubbish.

    Maybe we should all pay a levy to have motorways built to every village in the country? Its the same concept, at the moment these villages only have "A" or "B" road access, while cities have "superfast" motorways, this inequality cant be allowed to continue. Sure everyone will get where they want to in the end on non-motorway roads but why should they have to wait.

    If you choose to live in a rural area then it may take you longer to drive somewhere, it may also take longer to download a file... but its not as if you wont get there in the end.

  • Comment number 90.

    Perhaps the government should take all our earnigns and distribute evenly among the population in order to provide for everything THEY think we need ...

    .. well, we're getting pretty close to it ... Karl Marx's utopia is closer under Labour

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Hehehe? Boy how wrong can a government be wrong ? i live in a brand new home in east manchester the area has been totally rebuilt over the last ten years.The homes where i live dont even have cable for the tv/telephones and the broadband connections are hit and miss considering we hosted the commonwealth games in my area of manchester we are so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to technology??even third world countries like india etc are more advanced..THIS COUNTRY IS A JOKE WHEN IT COMES TO ANYTHING TECHNICAL OR BROADBAND CONNECTIONS.Ask most people in britain if they are happy with their broadband connection most will say a resounding NO!

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    Chris Styles

    I have two hamsters already wired up .. Browny and Nutty.

    They are producing abt 0.01 watts ... I am intending to increase this by use of caffeine and glycol supplements.

    Meantime am applying to HMG for assistance in form of a grant.

    With independent power generation, the internet becomes a closer reality in rural places ... so far it'l take 14 days to charge one laptop for 30 mins use .. somehow I shall also extract methane form the hamsters in order to cook my breakfast.

  • Comment number 95.

    How predictable. I thought that BT was a listed company. What about a rights issue to raise the money as is normally the case for these kinds of investments rather than BT depending on the taxpayer to pay for everything. Of course if they want to tax us-renationalise and we'll have the service for free.

  • Comment number 96.

    If its only costing 50 p per month, just increase TV Licence fee by £ 6 per year..... Simple

  • Comment number 97.

    They’re good, you have to have a sneaking admiration for these rogues, just when you thought there was nothing left to tax but fresh air, they find a way of making landlines compulsory and taxing them! In the same way we are forced to pay for a tv licence. These guys are masters; worth even dubiously obtained expense! Not only have they invented a new stealth tax that will not affect those hard done by bankers, with their well paid non-executive job offers for former cabinet ministers, but the opportunity to create a humungous new department of over spending unaccountable employees, a la BBC, to soak up the staff displaced by mismanagement of the economy.
    Of course the private ISP’s will charge us on top, and extra for the improved service, which we are paying for already. A nice extra touch minister, we get to pay for the same thing twice!
    Wales, of course, other than Cardiff, like all rural areas, will have to wait, more Nu-Lab voters in inner city, and urban sprawls. But they assure us we will have faster broadband, they’re just waiting for some place to freeze over so they can lay the cables. Everywhere will have faster broadband, except the notspots of course! But the real question is faster than what? What we have now, or will there be a national standard to reach? That’s what the department is for!

  • Comment number 98.

    I have BT Broadband - at not very good speeds - and it is funded by me -but I do not see why every household should have fast broadband - paid for by the government. If people want it - let them pay for it themselves. There are many homes that do not have the slightest interest in any form of internet communication, so why go to the expense of funding it. Another waste of public money !

  • Comment number 99.

    Whilst I'm not in favour of this new stealth tax, there seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and ignorance by other HYS contributors.

    It's not tax all for the benefit of a very few - it is supposed to benefit the vast majority who suffer from abysmally slow speed broadband. Those who are lucky / privileged enough to have cable or live very close to an exchange are in a definite minority.

    Why shouldn't people living in rural areas get just as good, if not better, service than townies? After all townies have all their shops and other amenities within walking distance; rural dwellers have to travel miles to access them in person.

    I live in a rural area by choice (not all my neighbours do), but that doesn't mean I have elected to be a second class citizen. I don't know anyone in my village who is happy with our broadband performance. It just isn't true that rural dwellers are satisfied with the status quo. There are people out here trying to run internet businesses over "a piece of wet string" that passes for a connection.

    As for using a mobile phone dongle -
    1) have you seen the cost of data over mobile links?
    2) only one of the mobile phone companies has coverage in our village, and it's not the one I'm signed up to!

    About 30 years ago I told a member of Maggie T's scientific think tank that the way forward was fibre to the door, the technology was available even then. Nobody listened. Too little too late as usual.

    Here's an idea that will never be adopted - every ISP worldwide charges 1p or equivalent for each email it accepts from another ISP so as the email is routed in one direction the charge travels in the opposite one, rather like VAT. That way the spammers couldn't evade costs by setting up their own ISP. The money, which would end up at the ISPs delivering the email to its final recipient, would be used to improve and maintain the infrastructure of the internet in whatever way is locally appropriate. This would be a minimal cost to most legitimate users. It would make some companies think twice about all the junk email they send out and should rapidly put spammers out of business. A win-win situation.

  • Comment number 100.

    This is just another election gimmick from a failing Government. What hypocrisy! It was recently reported that the local college has had IT funding for adults cut and it is necessary to close centres. So how are people, especially the elderly, supposed to learn?


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