Service provider slams “fibre tax”
That may be true, but smaller players like Fibrespan say the consultation process may be one reason the rates appear to favour big networks to the detriment of independent suppliers that offer a bare bones fibre connections for businesses to manage themselves.
“Broadband is not just about about consumers it’s about businesses too and making them competitive,” said Caplan. “But they are often forced to take a managed service from someone like BT because they cannot afford or justify the £3,000 minimum annual fee for their own fibre.
“That means they are in the hands of providers who might restrict or limit bandwidth, which can be really damaging for a company that, for example, works in the film or TV industry and has large files to move around quickly.”
Other operators such as Fibrestream have also complained that the tax is hampering next-generation broadband, and Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, who is responsible for broadband, has hinted that he will consider scrapping the tax.
However, a spokesperson for the DCMS said there were no immediate plans to review the system.
“We are aware that there is much debate within the industry about non-domestic rates on fibre networks and discussions between the VOA and industry are ongoing,” a spokesperson said. “We are closely following those discussions.”