Alphabet’s unit Google rejected an attempt by European telecoms operators to persuade Big Tech to contribute to network costs, arguing that the idea was outdated and harmful to consumers and that the company was already making significant investments in internet infrastructure.
The European Commission announced that it would seek input from the telecoms and tech industries on the matter in the upcoming months before putting forth any legislative proposals. Matt Brittin, president of EMEA business & operations at Google, made the remarks at the same time.
Large operators like Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and others have long complained about tech rivals using their networks for freeriding purposes, claiming that since they account for a significant portion of internet traffic, they ought to pay a fee.
The concept, which was proposed more than ten years ago, could sabotage Europe’s net neutrality or free and open internet, according to Brittin.
“Introducing a ‘sender pays’ principle is not a new idea, and would upend many of the principles of the open internet,” he said according to the text of a speech to be delivered at a conference organised by telecoms lobbying group ETNO.
“These arguments are similar to those we heard 10 or more years ago and we have not seen new data that changes the situation.”
It “could have a negative impact on consumers, especially at a time of price increases,” Brittin said, citing a report by pan-European consumer group BEUC outlining such concerns.
He claimed that YouTube’s owner, Google, has contributed to improving telecom providers’ efficiency by carrying traffic 99% of the time and spending millions of euros to do so.
“In 2021, we invested over 23 billion euros in capital expenditure – much of which is infrastructure,” Brittin said.
There are six sizable data centers in Europe, 20 subsea cables worldwide, five of which are in Europe, and 20 caches for storing digital content on local networks throughout the continent.
(Adapted from EconomicTimes.com)