It becomes increasingly likely that UK residents with a land line phone will be hit with a new tax. As of the beginning of the coming year, the new broadband tax will become effective and anyone, with or without internet access, will have to pay 50p per month to satisfy this new tax. This money then be squandered by politicians, contractors and sub-contractors... The only thing this money won't be used on is fund the changes it is meant for.
But that's not the problem, after all we are paying tax on cigarettes and that money doesn't go to healthcare; we pay liquor tax and that money doesn't go into healthcare either.. so why be upset that the 50p that we pay now might be used to fund weapons research?
No, the real problem here lies in the fact that a new tax is established and a ridiculous label is attached. If I think that this tax is being raised to fix the problem of broadband availabilty, but that it will never, ever disappear again, it makes me rather sad. I can see this tax being raised already: lower the VAT and raise the BBT... It's awful. All the government is doing is masquerade it's income. A little tax here and there is not as easy to track and understand as two income and value added that everybody is used to.
I would be hurt, but not upset or even outraged, if the government would raise the income tax. But to establish a completely new tax has only got one intention: being deciteful about it's plans.
I read on various blogs and newspaper sites that the plan to build out the existing telephone lines to make them broadband compatible was too little and too late. There are various new technological solutions that would be much more cost efficient and would provide a better infrastructure for the future to build up on than copper wires in the ground.
But that aside, I just wanted to highlight the injustice, the undemocratic aspects of it, as only the BT gets the benefits from this tax (obviously what's left after the administrative aparatus has taken it's more than modest share). How can it be fair that Virgin is paying for it's own lines and, like most other broadband provider, still has to rent lines from the BT - while the BT gets them free of charge from the government? Free to exploit their customers for years to come, free to monopolise and already heavily monopolised market.
This already creates an unfair environment that favours the BT, a company that made £2.5b profit in 2008, I might add!
Also consider that remote areas are exactly that: remote. If you live in a beautiful (or maybe less beautiful) place in the countryside, you should bloody well pay for the privilege of getting the 21st century out there. Is there an electricity tax because some houses in remote places don't have electricity? What about water and other such commodities? It's simply that people in remote places aren't willing to upgrade... If they really wanted to, they could (but admittedly would have to pay more for someone that lives in London)! Again, to highlight the hypocrisy: I live in London and my cost of living and transport is that much higher - is the government taxing other areas heavier to make sure that everyone pays equally?
If this is such an important thing, why not use the money they already get from us? We pay quite a bit of tax already, but raise the tax by 0.00001% and I certainly wouldn't mind. An additional charge infringes with my consumer rights: I shouldn't be double charged for one service / product. For the same reason I don't have Television - I refuse to pay that BS tax! I rather NOT have a service than pay a second time for it to someone that does NOTHING to maintain the service or provides an additional service that I rather not pay for.
In short, the best things to do in response to this are:
1. Write to BT, inform them that you will immediately leave them should they impose the tax on you
2. Write to Stephen Timms, the [horrible swearword] that is pushing forward with this programme. Contact here: http://www.stephentimms.org.uk/contact_me
3. Indeed cancel your BT contract with immediate effect (once the tax goes through), thus freeing you from the burden of an inflated bill and use your mobile and get a USB internet connection.
4. Write to other MPs that are opposing the planned tax.