EU Could Make Streaming Services Help Pay for Telecom Upgrades


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Apr 24, 2016
Lawmakers in the European Union have introduced a proposal that would make Netflix and other heavy users of bandwidth help pay to upgrade the Internet infrastructure.

This proposal, which was first reported by Bloomberg, is part of a “fair share” vision that would require big tech firms to help pay for all of the Internet traffic their services generate. The hope is that these payments will help offset rising costs associated with the modernization of the EU Internet infrastructure, which includes 5G and fiber technologies.

Among the many questions in the proposal is the threshold that a firm would need to reach in order to qualify to be a “large traffic generator.” And it’s likely that many of the firms that fall into that category, like YouTube owner Google, will also run afoul of other similar and recent EU rules regarding “gatekeepers” and “very large online platforms.”

Telecom firms in Europe like Deutsche Telekon, Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone have lobbied the EU for this financial report for years. But critics argue that it could run afoul of net neutrality laws and cause harm to the Internet ecosystem.

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