Paris Stock Exchange remains in red mark for last session of the week

Paris: Will Netflix, Google and others have to participate in financing the telecommunications network? The European Commission is considering “reasonable contributions” from digital giants, the main consumers of bandwidth, at the risk of undermining the principle of net neutrality. A project was demanded by the operators for a long time.

“There is a question that we must consider very carefully, and it is the question of the proper contribution to telecommunications networks,” European Commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager said this week.

“Because we see there are actors who generate a lot of traffic that keeps their activity going, but who haven’t contributed to making this traffic work,” he added during a press conference on Monday.

Following the adoption of the European Draft Regulation on Digital Services and Markets (“Digital Services Act”, DSA; “Digital Markets Act”, DMA), “it is now one of the main projects in our digital space”, and their counterpart internal markets In, Thierry Breton, on Twitter on Wednesday.

According to several media, a dedicated legislative project on the subject should be presented by Brussels “at the end of the year”.

The Commission is thus responding to a recurring request from operators, such as the joint appeal launched last February by the four largest European operators, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Orange and Telefonica.

55% of online traffic

European telecoms lobby Etno published a study on Monday showing that web giants such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix alone contributed 55% of online traffic last year, while operators have generated more than 500 billion euros in the past. have invested. Ten years in the development of the national network.

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The association, which denounces “little or no financial contribution to the development of the network” from these web giants, requests a contribution of 20 billion per year to “unlock significant opportunities”.

In favor of the veterans of the Nets, the counteroffensive was not long in coming.

According to the CCIA, which represents the information and communications technology industries of which “Gafa” (short for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) are members, “tech companies contributed hundreds of billions of euros to Internet infrastructure in 2014.” -2018 period alone”, and contributes to helping operators avoid traffic congestion by developing new technologies.

“Operators are already paid by their customers,” said Christian Borggreen, vice president of the lobby.

“This would be equivalent to requesting energy distributors to pay washing machine manufacturers for the energy consumed by their products, when it is already billed to the consumer,” he said.

net neutrality

Other critics of the EU’s efforts to protect “digital rights” are also concerned about the potential impact on the principle of equal treatment and access to online content, known as “net neutrality”.

In September 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that an access provider cannot favor certain applications or certain services by granting them unlimited access, when competing services are subject to blocking or slowing.

But for net giants to pay higher salaries, isn’t it also a risk that they need to go to the telecom operators for compensation?

“It’s definitely going to happen: there will be ordinary people who won’t pay, whose services will be slower, and others who can afford and be privileged. It’s clearly a call to net neutrality under the guise of justice.” There is danger,” Stephen Bortzmeier, network engineer and Internet specialist, told AFP.

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“The principle of net neutrality is excellent” but “the practical application is complex”, he adds. “It is quite difficult to make this a precise and legally enforceable rule”.

In the United States, it has been the subject of a bitter fight over the years. The Trump administration, for example, returned to this principle, voted two years ago under the presidency of Barack Obama, accused of discouraging investment in new services. Joe Biden is now struggling to reinstate it.

The European debate has just begun.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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