European Telecom Companies Demand Money From Data Guzzlers Facebook, Google and Netflix

Telecom companies in Europe continue to demand that internet giants such as Facebook, Google and Netflix pay for 5G and fibre optic networks. This is because they are responsible for enormous data flows on those networks, the reasoning goes.


The European Commission is no longer deaf to the demand.

Ten years ago, telecom companies already required tech companies that cause a lot of data consumption to contribute. At the time, there were fears that a two-speed internet would emerge, which goes against the principle of net neutrality that Europe wanted to uphold.

But a change of direction seems imminent. Speaking at the MWC in Barcelona, one of the world’s leading telecoms fairs, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said the European Union should consider new ways to improve telecoms networks, even if it means tech giants have to contribute.

“We must find a financing model for the gigantic investments, distributed fairly and with respect for the fundamental elements of our European legislation,” said the French European Commissioner. In Barcelona, Breton will be in contact with Netflix CEO Greg Peters, among others.

According to the top woman of the French telecom group Orange, Christel Heydemann, it costs telecom operators 15 billion euros annually to process the data volume of the five most prominent online services. Together they would account for approximately 55 percent of all data traffic.

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