It now looks likely that the contentious ‘broadband tax', a levy to help fund broadband investment in the UK, will not now happen.
Having called a General Election for 6 May, the Government faces a scramble to get important legislation through Parliament in the next week. The element of the Finance Bill relating to the broadband levy has become one of a number of pieces of legislation that the Government has had to sacrifice in order to use what little time there is left for other bills.
The levy would have imposed a £6 annual tax on all broadband connections in the UK, and was expected to raise £170 million towards broadband upgrades that service providers seem reluctant to make on their own.
The opposition Conservative Party, still the favourites to form the next government, are opposed to the idea, which almost certainly consigns it in its current form to the footnotes of history. The Tories have a wider political agenda that proposes using part of the annual license fee raised by the BBC to fund improved UK broadband.
"We will deliver nationwide super-fast broadband by 2017 without the burden of extra taxation but by deregulating the market, encouraging private sector investment and considering the use of the proportion of the licence fee dedicated to digital switchover to ensure there is no digital divide," shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph newspaper earlier this month.
One bill that will become law within days is the even more controversial Digital Economy Bill, designed to clamp down on digital piracy, or file sharing in Internet parlance. The Conservatives have pledged their 'reluctant' support.