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New 50p phone tax to pay for faster web access

Chancellor Alistair Darling said yesterday that every telephone landline in the country will be subject to a monthly 50p tax to pay for faster internet access from October.

The move was first unveiled as part of last year’s Digital Britain report and is expected to raise £175m a year to provide 50Mb per second broadband to 90 per cent of homes by 2017.

Darling said: “Investment in both traditional and new infrastructure is vital if our economy is to grow and our businesses to succeed.”

He added: “The UK has the potential to be the world leader in digital economy. And realising this ambition would create thousands of new businesses and hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”

The Conservatives have pledged to scrap the tax and instead divert funds from the BBC licence fee if telecoms and web firm’s own investment failed to deliver superfast broadband to a majority of UK homes.