Will tax stifle digital revolution?

The Government’s plans to fund the spread of high speed broadband through taxation is unfair – and could put games’ potential digital renaissance in jeopardy.

That was the view from Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey this week, speaking ahead of his keynote address at London Games Conference on Tuesday (October 27th).

Treasury Minister Stephen Timms last month said he was keen to implement a 6 annual broadband tax for households before the next election – which must take place by May 2010. The Government has pledged to install 2MB broadband in every UK home by 2012.

Vaizey disputed the need for a tax to fund the expansion.

He told MCV: The UK is a world-beater when it comes to IP creation, and the games sector plays a key part in this. We are second only to the US.

We ought to be in a prime position to exploit possibilities offered by global networks
that allow these assets to be traded freely.

The cable revolution happened without a cable tax. The satellite revolution happened without a satellite tax. Simply introducing an extra tax is an old economy solution to a new economy problem.

The Conservatives will oversee wholesale deregulation of the broadband infrastructure. We should not rely solely on BT to build this new network.”

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