Google doesn’t think it should pay network costs

Google doesn't think it should pay network costs

The European Commission is investigating whether tech giants should share the costs of telecom operators’ networks. Google does not agree with this.

In the spring of 2023, a consultation tour will begin with key players in the sector. Telecom operators are actively defending big tech giants like Google, Meta, Netflix and Amazon to share in their high network costs. Operators argue that they consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth on the network.

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Europe wants tech giants to pay network costs

So it seems that the European Commission is siding with telecom operators on this thorny issue. This does not appeal to technology companies. During a panel discussion hosted by the Financial Times, Matt Britten, head of Europe at Google, explained that Google is not willing to reimburse telecom operators for the costs of their networks.

The danger of the open internet

According to Britten, such a commitment would jeopardize the ideals of an open internet. This principle states that no company should be favored or disqualified in the internet world, not even companies the size of Google. “The idea that the sender has to pay will turn the open internet upside down. This argument was heard about ten years ago, without concrete data changing this situation.”

In addition, Google notes the significant investments the company is making in its own European network. Google has six large data centers in Europe, 20 caches, and submarine network cables between the United States and the European continent. Through their own efforts, they are already helping operators achieve significant savings, according to Britten. Thus the end user will be the ultimate loser if telecom operators have their way, as this may lead to an increase in prices.

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On the other side of the Atlantic, there is also debate over whether the tech giants should share the costs. One suggestion the FCC wants to push is to allow bandwidth snooters to co-finance network upgrades, because consumers are now paying indirectly through a fund.

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