UK MPs slam broadband tax plan

UK MPs have slammed a government proposal to tax landlines as a means of paying for a national FTTH network, branding the plan “unfair”.
A report by a cross-party committee organised by the department of business innovation and skills also criticised the Digital Britain report's emphasis on ultra-fast broadband.
A spokesperson for the committee told the BBC that the market should be trusted to deliver high speeds without the government’s involvement.
The government's proposed 50p (€0.57) per month tax on fixed line rental would mostly be paid by people unable to reap the benefits for years to come, the committee states. While it agreed that the government should help to deliver speeds of 2 Mbps to the entire population by 2012, it added that government intervention in ultra-fast broadband was unnecessary.
There is little demand for such services, the report adds, and when demand grows the market will provide.
But a spokesperson for the department of business innovation and skills told the BBC its research showed that, without government intervention, high speed services would only reach 70% of the country.
The spokesperson defended the broadband tax as “modest, fair and affordable,” but added that the committee's remarks will be taken into account when the department prepares its final response to the Digital Britain report.
Across the channel, French telecom regulator Arcep has announced that the country's operators involved in rolling out FTTH have published their network access offers.
The operators have set up their technical and pricing reference offers, Arcep said. Companies which have submitted offers include France Telecom, SFR, Numericable and Free.