VOA seeks info on wireless broadband networks – to tax them
The Broadband Stakeholders Group is hosting a meeting at which the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will set out its views on the potential application of the non-domestic rating regime (aka ‘business rates’) to wireless broadband network infrastructure.
This meeting marks the start of a public consultation before the VOA publishes a Practice Note to clarify the valuation for non-domestic rates of wireless broadband network infrastructure. It is looking for inputs from industry on rental values and costs of installation.
The meeting comes less than a month after Vfast withdrew its proposal for a wireless broadband network for Tunbridge Wells, saying the VOA had told it the scheme would be subject to business rates taxes.
The VOA is the same organisation that saw fit to subject lit fibre to business rates and introduce three different ways of valuing it, two of which favour BT and Virgin Media. A recent Ofcom report on the market for >1Gbps services found the fibre tax is a serious inhibitor for investment.
Alan Bradford, head of telecoms at the VOA, will provide an update at the BSG meeting and there will be time for Q&A.
The BSG says this meeting is the VOA’s first opportunity to begin this industry consultation. However, Vfast’s reaction to its meeting with the VOA suggests that the VOA has already made up its mind to tax wireless networks. It is now just trying to fix the rate.
The meeting will take place from 10.00 to 12.00 on Monday 22 April at the Intellect offices, Russell Square House, 10-12 Russell Square, London WC1B 5EE.
The BSG thinks this will interest mobile operators, fixed wireless providers and other stakeholders with an interest in the non-domestic rating regime.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 16 April. Places are limited so early registration is advised.