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VOA outlines new Fibre Tax plans

Friday, January 6th 2012 by Editorial
The Valuation Office Agency has outlined new plans for its controversial Fibre Tax.

New proposals for the next-generation access tax on fibre optic broadband connections have been published by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

Under the Fibre Tax plans, the rateable value that dictates how much a telecoms firm will be taxed for rolling out super-fast broadband infrastructure will be based on how many users have signed up for the service, rather than the number of homes passed.

The end user basis will reflect companies' success in generating new broadband connections and the initial low penetration and take-up of the service, the VOA explained.

In the so-called "final third", where private sector telecoms firms are unwilling to invest in fibre broadband deployments, the high upfront costs and low potential returns will be taken into account, it added.

Several commentators and organisations have criticised the Fibre Tax, including the Taxpayers' Alliance, which argued the charge is "hampering investment from small to medium-sized ISPs in fibre and technical infrastructure".