EU Commission wants proof to charge big tech big

The European Commission wants telecom providers to offer proof that streaming websites like Netflix and YouTube should be charged for extra data used on their networks.

According to a draught questionnaire from April, telcos will be required to provide information on how much traffic has increased over the last three years, where the increased traffic is coming from, and what effect the increasing traffic is having on expenses.

Tech companies will also be questioned about how their expenses have escalated, their interactions with the telcos and any indications of “market failure” in the way content are provided across networks as part of the planned questionnaire.

While the Commission has declined to comment on the matter, rumours of a proposal for a “fair share” remuneration policy have been circulating for many months. If implemented, the policy would conceivably require businesses that offer streaming services and other data-intensive applications to pay telecom operators for the amount of traffic they send over their networks. Operators would then be able to put the extra money toward expanding their networks and modernising their infrastructure.

Parliamentarians, proponents of an open internet, and tech companies themselves have all expressed worry that this idea would harm net neutrality and could result in a two-tiered internet across the EU. There has been a heated debate in response to this proposal.

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