Broadband tax critic TalkTalk raises line rental by 50p

price rises

TalkTalk has confirmed it will be raising its line rental by more than 50p, despite being an outspoken critic of a similar charge proposed by the last Government.

As of 1 October, its monthly line rental will rise from 11.49 to 12.04, whilst its services will see similar price hikes.

It may not be a shock that an ISP is raising its prices, but TalkTalk has put itself in the critic's firing line after publicly condemning Government plans to put a 50p broadband tax on landlines.

Last November, Charles Dunstone, chief executive of TalkTalk, claimed the tax proposed by Government to go on all landlines in order to pay for broadband rollout was "unfair" and would severely affect those on low incomes.

"We estimate that the increase in price will mean that over 100,000 mostly low income homes will be forced to give up their broadband lines," he said. "This is wholly inconsistent with the Government's plans to tackle digital exclusion by increasing uptake and use of broadband."

Dunstone added: "To tax all phone customers is not even robbing Peter to pay Paul, it's just robbing Peter."

However, it is now his company adding more than 50p to its customers' bills, which, if initial predictions were correct, could have a similar affect on its low income users.

When IT PRO asked TalkTalk if it saw the move as hypocritical, a spokesperson said: "I don't think that is the case. I think every company has to implement price rises as prices in the market go up, from a company perspective."

"I think this is [also] a slightly different thing to a tax," she added. "It is a price rise for a service."

The broadband tax polarised opinion but it was eventually scrapped back in April as part of the wash-up phase of the last Government, ensuring the controversial clause of the Finance Bill did not prevent the rest of it being passed.

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.