To many people’s surprise, the UK has decided to tax every fixed line 6 pounds a year to build “next generation broadband” throughout the country. But Virgin’s network is limited and fibre-optic cables are expensive. The two firms can profitably reach only around two-thirds of the population, reckons Matt Yardley of Analysys Mason, a consultancy that helped to prepare the report. Connecting the rest at high speed will cost around £3 billion. So Lord Carter surprised the broadband industry by proposing a £6 annual tax on telephone lines, raising around £150m.