A Darling imposes 50 pence levy on landlines

Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, confirmed that he will impose a 50 pence a month landline levy to foster the building of next generation broadband in the UK.

That was on the cards or in the tealeaves, as we reported on TechEye yesterday.

But whether this all comes to pass is open to doubt as a General Election is expected in early May and the Conservative Party is opposed to such a levy.

The government’s plan is to fund next generation broadband across the UK to 90 percent of the population by 2017. The Conservative Party reckons it can deliver 100Mbps broadband to most of the UK by 2017 too.

Such ideas got short thrift from Entanet marketing man, Darren Farnden. He said both the parties’ plans are “at best, badly thought out”. He suggested the politicos talk to industry bodies and service providers that have a clue.

Other technology related announcements Darling made include the funding of a £2 billion investment bank to fund low carbon industries.

He also announced additional funding for 20,000 university places in science and maths, and said the government will set up a £35 million enterprise fund with the aim of assisting businesses launched by universities.

The usual pain hit boozers, smokers and drivers. Darling will impose a 10 percent increase on cider duty from Sunday, will raise duty on wine, beer, and spirits by two percent, and will put tobacco duty up by one percent from midnight on Sunday.