A broadband tax costing Brits with a telephone line £6 a year was confirmed today by Chancellor Alistair Darling in the Pre-Budget Report.

The 50p-per-month broadband tax, which was first detailed in the Digital Britain report, will be used to pay for upgrading the UK's ageing copper network to fibre cables capable of offering 100Mbps internet access.

The next-generation fibre network will also be used in conjunction with wireless satellite technology to ensure every resident in Britain has 2Mbps broadband access.

"We have provided funding to help extend the opportunities of the broadband network to more remote communities," Darling said.

"We now want to go further, so we can provide the next generation of super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the population by the end of 2017."

Despite opposition from consumers and ISPs that believe the tax will not generate enough revenue to fund the national roll-out, it appears Darling is pushing forward with the proposal.

Julie Owens at comparison website Moneysupermarket.com said: "The levy seems a little unfair to those who have a landline but no broadband, however 50p is a small price to pay for what the Government sees as vital infrastructure to the UK.

"This is clearly a big commitment towards bridging the digital divide and on the face of it will go a long way to enable consumers get a fair deal, regardless of their location. Broadband has become a household necessity in recent years and every home deserves to have fast access to what is now an essential service.

Owens also said that the government and Ofcom would need to ensure that the roll-out of a super-fast network reaches the places that need it most.

Broadband speed test

See also: Broadband tax will force 100,000 homes off internet