BT: Broadband tax won't cover fibre rollout

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A 50p broadband tax will not be enough to roll out fibre internet to the whole country, according to a BT executive.

Olivia Garfield, group director of strategy and portfolio for BT, said at a briefing yesterday that the fund would only allow for 80 to 85 per cent of the country to have fibre broadband, rather than the 100 per cent the government would like to see.

A spokesperson from BT said: "Over ten years, we are looking at 1 billion raised from the levy which would only cover 80 to 85 per cent."

The spokesperson also confirmed to IT PRO that the company wasn't informed about the proposed tax until after the press were told.

He said: "There was no input on the levy from BT, as we had no prior knowledge. To say it came out of the blue might be a clich statement, but it really did."

The spokesperson also tried to distinguish between the two funds and two promises the government has made surrounding broadband.

He said: "The Next Generation fund will be paid for by this 50p tax to ensure and support fibre roll out. However the Universal Service Commitment (USC) fund paid for by the BBC digital switchover fund relates to the 2MB promise."

There is some debate as to how much the USC fund will be, as OfCom predicted only 200 million is needed. BT has said 400 million is a more likely figure.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.