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Who should pay for the infrastructure?

During the pandemic, millions of people around the world had to shelter at home and stay there to avoid spreading it. We went out only what was necessary and spent much more time in our homes. This gave rise to a growth in streaming services and data consumption, which began to reach figures that endangered the stability of the network infrastructure. The EU has proposed to technology companies and streaming platforms are in charge of paying for the use of the Internet, taking charge of contributing network deployment and upgrades of the operators.

For years now, there have been numerous complaints of increasing data usage globally. The operators warned of increase in Internet traffic of up to 200% in the time of COVID-19. If we take into account that part of this was due to the success of streaming platforms like Netflix or Prime Video, now we see the logic behind the carriers’ complaints. And it is that, these refer to the profit increase of these streaming platforms at the expense of Internet providers. Months ago, the operators demanded that companies like Netflix pay and the EU seriously considered this decision.

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The EU is collecting opinions on payment for the use of the Internet

Europe Operators Streaming Traffic

The last time we heard about the EU demanding the streaming platforms that They will pay money to the operators for the use of the Internet was in September 2022. The EU has not left this issue behind, as it is now collecting the final opinions to create this controversial proposal. This is based on the fact that tech companies like Google or streaming services like Netflixhave to pay if they want to finance the deployment of broadband networks.

The focus and objective is the same, since these companies are blamed for take advantage of increased traffic of the Internet without giving anything in return. The increase in the volume of data in network infrastructures is crying out for improvement and Internet service providers will not be in charge of paying for it in full. If they really want to have it, companies like Google will have to pay a part of the cost. The option has also been raised that the payment is proportional to the use of the Internet.

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Orange and Telefónica demand payments for more than two decades

EU Telecommunications Operators

As we can imagine, there have been opinions against this proposal and the first to argue are the companies themselves. And it is that, they consider that the payment for accessing the high speed networks or by the amount of traffic It is unfairsince the traffic is requested by the users and in fixed networks the cost of increased traffic should not be significant. On the other hand, we have the telcos that of course are in favor and want the contribution to be equitable. In fact, we have already seen how USA, Italy and France they were in favor of YouTube or Netflix will pay a fair share for the use of the network.

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If we focus on the EU proposal, for the moment the payment for the use of the Internet will be looking for the public input over the next 12 weeks before taking the first step. Of course, Europe is not going to settle for just this, since its objective is to obtain the information from the suppliers that it really interests. We talk about the costs of improving broadband networks, infrastructure. This is a complex issue that requires thinking about whether it is really worth imposing.

From the point of view of the operators of course yes, since they would comply with their wishes. What’s more, we have telecommunications companies in the EU like Deutsche Telekom, Orange, telephone and Telecom Italy who are pushing for companies to pay for internet usage and network costs for more than two decades.


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