Phone-line levy for rural broadband axed

A levy to pay for high-speed rural broadband connections has been axed because of the UK election.

The proposed levy was part of the government's most recent Finance Bill, which got squeezed out of the parliamentary process by prime minister Gordon Brown's announcement on Tuesday of an election in the UK.

The tax, which the Conservatives say they would scrap if elected, was meant to help subsidise the roll-out of faster broadband networks than those already promised under the government's 2Mbit/s universal service obligation proposal.

The tax was meant to raise about £170m a year. The Conservatives are proposing diverting money from the BBC licence fee to help pay for rural broadband instead.

The broadband levy falls to the wayside alongside plans for a 10p-a-bottle tax on strong cider and tax relief on holiday homes.

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