Europe Wants to Tax Internet Giants for Bandwidth UseS

Facebook, Google, and Netflix are all parts of the Internet many of us consider fundamental. And now, a lobby group sponsored by prominent European telecom corporations is pushing for a bandwidth use fee which would force companies like these to pay up for their internet activity on the other side of the Atlantic. Ugh.

According to Cnet, the proposal was submitted by the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association to the Internet Telecommunication Union, a wing of the United Nations. Up until now, Internet backbone operators have arranged mutual agreements with one another to allow traffic to flow freely. Cnet says this proposed legislature would change all that, forcing companies to negotiate individually. These negotiations could cost a company like Google billions of dollars per year.

The government, perhaps predictably, is not happy about these negotiations considering that many of the world's biggest internet companies are American, but Cnet says others in the Internet community are also concerned that such a decision could mean developing nations will lose access to many popular services.

The sender-pays framework would likely prompt U.S.-based Internet services to reject connections from users in developing countries, who would become unaffordably expensive to communicate with, predicts Robert Pepper, Cisco's vice president for global technology policy.

The thought of this becoming standard practice across the globe is one that sounds frightening. [Cnet via Slashdot]

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