To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their announcement that broadband internet would be provided throughout the United Kingdom is prompted by the European Commission's policy to provide such a service throughout the European Union; and whether any of the proposed £6 annual tax on all land line telephone accounts will be used to finance a European Union-wide system. [HL4555]
The Government's announcement of a universal service commitment for broadband was the result of analysis that shows that broadband is fast becoming as essential as a utility and that it is important for all in the UK to be able to benefit from the advantages that broadband access can bring. We have worked hard in Europe to secure changes to the telecoms regulation framework that allow for the definition of universal service to encompass broadband. The proposed £6 annual levy on all fixed telephone lines is intended to provide a Next Generation Fund for the delivery of next generation, truly high speed, broadband to the final third of the UK that the market will not deliver to otherwise, and will not be used to finance European Union-wide system.