BBC Licence fee to fund UK broadband plans?

Fibre optic rollout - still a key matter
Fibre optic rollout - still a key matter

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government has suggested that the BBC licence fee could be used to fund part of the broadband rollout that all parties agree is necessary for Britain's communications infrastructure.

The Tory manifesto had hinted at the solution, which could, 'if necessary', see a portion of the licence fee put aside to pay for the fibre optic cabling, rather than the 50p 'broadband tax' on people with landline phones.

The portion of money that has been earmarked was set aside for the digital switchover from analogue television in the UK, and will provide a major injection of funding into the proposals to bring a rather paltry minimum speed of 2Mbps to every UK home.

If necessary

"If necessary, we will consider using the part of the TV licence fee that is supporting the digital switchover to fund broadband in areas that the market alone will not reach," said the coalition document.

The coalition document has been put together to show how the two parties that make up the government will proceed on many key policies, including broadband roll-out to the nation.

A BBC trust spokesperson told the BBC news Technology website: "We note the reference to the possible use of an element of the licence fee on broadband roll out.

"We look forward to discussing this with the Government."

Ed Vaizey MP has been appointed the minister in charge of broadband and he will oversee the project.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.