Darling must cut tax on fibre
If chancellor Alistair Darling were really serious about boosting the digital economy, he would rethink the tax on fibre-optic links, says Jeff McKeown.
Even if we set aside the hugely underwhelming nature of the 2Mbps proposition, he has clearly put little thought into the ground-level reality experienced by businesses trying to compete in the communications market.
Over the past decade, the government has been charging a business rate tax on any company trying to light up dark fibre networks and boost the digital economy. This tax creates a significant barrier to smaller-scale service providers entering the market.
Adding a payment holiday of three years, for example, to fibre deployments at or just above the minimum threshold, would then create the opportunity for smaller operators to get started and encourage a realistic deployment of the community networks that currently feature in Lord Carter's dreams.