Google told the European Union (EU) it has proposals for big technology companies for a financial contribution (opens in a new tab) for mobile and broadband deployments was a “decade ago idea” that did not reflect the fact that the company had already invested millions in infrastructure
Matt Brittin, president of Google Business & Operations EMEA, said at an event hosted by ETNO telecommunications group that Google is investing heavily in communications infrastructure – including submarine cables and data centers – and that it handles traffic 99% of the time.
He argued that any move by the EU to force tech companies to pay could increase costs for consumers and jeopardize the principles of the open internet.
Fiber optic financing
“These arguments are similar to those we heard 10 or more years ago, and we didn’t see new data changing the situation,” Reuters quotes.
The telecommunications industry is increasingly frustrated by the fact that companies like Google, Meta, Netflix and others are reaping significant benefits from their network investment while operators are forced to provide enough bandwidth to meet demand.
To add fuel to the fire is the fact that many of these companies actively compete with the telecommunications industry in terms of revenue impact, but are not regulated in the same way. They argue that without intervention, capital-intensive networking will not be enough to become more attractive.
The EU, which sees fiber and 5G as key elements of its social and economic agenda, seems to agree that the current situation is unsustainable and has come up with the idea that tech companies that use this infrastructure should help pay for it.
However, ahead of any potential legislation, the EU invited both sides of the dispute to make their case. Heads of 13 major telecommunications companies, including BT and Vodafone, signed a letter urging the EU to take action ahead of Google’s comments (opens in a new tab).
However big technology may have the unlikely ally of Virtual Cellular Networks (MVNOs) claiming to be collateral damage (opens in a new tab) any such legislation.
The industry body MVNO Europe says any regulation would not only expose its members to additional costs, but the money they paid would be used to empower incumbent operators, making it more difficult to compete. This would not only have an impact on the price but also prevent many niche MVNOs from offering their services.
By Reuters (opens in a new tab)