Hungary can extort Netflix

The debate and dilemma, which goes back practically decades, may come to an end in the coming months when the European Union decides whether it is possible or necessary to require the large platform owners to contribute to the operating and construction costs of the EU’s telecommunications infrastructures. According to the large European telecommunications companies, the future of the sector – and indeed of Europe – depends on this, but the majority of the member states, in agreement with the specialized authorities, are not fans of the idea.

Reuters insider sources according to the portfolio managers of the EU member states, last Thursday they met with the Commissioner responsible for internal markets of the European Commission, Thierry Breton, after the Commission closed the consultation phase in May, which tried to assess the positions of the stakeholders in relation to the issue known in the profession only as “OTT fair share”.


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EU telecommunications companies have complained for many years that the platformers who run their networks to the top (such companies include Netflix, Microsoft, Google or Amazon) do not contribute anything to the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure. The situation seriously worsened with the coronavirus epidemic, as the demand for the services provided by platformers (primarily video streaming, which consumes a lot of bandwidth) increased by leaps and bounds.

The European Commission first indicated in May of last year that it wanted to deal with this problem, after the EU telecommunications companies joined hands with each other and put more and more serious pressure on the executive body of the union, whose competent commissioner, before his political career, also worked in the industry as the president and CEO of France Telecom. .

In the past, several EU member states stood up for the OTT fair share institution, along with industry players and lobby organizations, but now the matter has come before the ministers, where, according to Reuters, the majority of the member states have already taken a negative, but at least critical, position on the subject – including others in addition to Deutsche Telekom’s home country, Germany.

Among other things, the member states opposing the proposal objected that no impact study had been carried out regarding how such a cost sharing would shape the market, and that the possibility could arise that the resulting additional burdens would be passed on to consumers by the platform operators, and that such a measure would partially or fully oppose also goes with the European Union’s net neutrality directive – similar concerns were previously expressed by BEREC, which brings together Member State authorities, and numerous rights protection organizations.

At the same time, there are supporters of the proposal among the member states, so according to the leaked details, in addition to France, Spain, Italy and Greece, Hungary is also in favor of large Internet platform operating companies contributing to the costs of telecommunications service providers.

Source: HWSW Informatikai Hírmagazin by

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