Fibre tax: The holiday’s over, but we’re here to help
What is fibre tax?
Everyone’s feeling the pinch from rising business costs. This year, independent broadband providers must also allow for the return of fibre tax.
Business rates relief on network infrastructure ended in England and Wales from April. That’s after a five-year fibre tax holiday that helped boost Project Gigabit.
The growth of ultrafast broadband is a great British success story. Customer choice is also greater than ever before, thanks in part to the rise of alternative full fibre networks (Altnets).
By the end of 2025, Altnets will have connected 29.9 million properties across the country. To continue that pace of rollout, it is more important than ever before to understand and navigate the changes to regulations.
So, we’ve produced a guide to help Altnets get to grips with fibre tax. And our experts are ready to help businesses make the right decisions while taking its return in their stride.
We want to help cut some of the complexity, jargon, and confusion around the whole process
Diego Tedesco, Director of Wholesale-Fixed at Virgin Media O2 Business
When do you pay fibre tax?
Fibre tax is now levied by councils as business rates on all broadband network infrastructure in England and Wales.
Underground fibre is treated as part of a company’s rateable premises, much like shops and offices. This includes Dark Fibre operated by Altnets.
When discussing Dark Fibre solutions with our partners, many have been asking us about the return of fibre tax.
They want to know why its returning, what it could cost and how it’s calculated. They’re looking for the most cost-effective solution for their network architecture.
We worked with the UK’s leading experts to shine light on the business rates that apply to Dark Fibre. We want Altnets to have all the information they need to plan for the future.
The UK Government's failure to extend the 100% rates relief, in place from 2017, means the industry faces additional costs of around £60 million in annual bills.
As Altnets look at new opportunities to expand their network infrastructure, we want to help them make the right choices.
The complex valuation process is dependent on where the bulk of a network will be, how much fibre is lit and any associated buildings or connections.
So, it’s a good idea to get the best information and independent advice before any major build project. To learn more, download our free fibre tax guide.
Can I get full fibre broadband tax deduction?
Altnets may be eligible for other forms of rates relief, and it is possible to challenge your business rates valuation. So it’s a good idea to understand liability well in advance.
That’s because, if a business feels it has been wrongly assessed, the appeals process can take many months. So businesses should ensure they have funds set aside to cover unexpected costs.
Chartered surveyor Tim Harrison heads the Business Rates Team at Avison Young, the UK’s leading broadband business rates experts.
He says: “Given the Government’s aims of a gigabit-capable society, it seems odd that fibre tax relief has come to an end.
“Altnets need to be up to speed with this complex process and their potential liabilities before embarking on any infrastructure investment projects.”
Done right, Dark Fibre is the smart option for many businesses looking to expand their network. It delivers virtually unlimited capacity and puts you in full control of the service.
But you should always consider Dark Fibre alongside all available options and only work with a partner that understands your needs and in-house skills.
We have the largest Dark Fibre coverage in the UK, available right across the country. That’s why many leading Altnets choose to work with us.