Google, Netflix and Amazon have cried foul over a new proposal from European telecommunications companies

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 A rift at the heart of the telecommunications sector risks reversing decades of progress and plunging digital allies into a new phase of conflict. Europe’s telecom companies want US corporations such as Alphabet/Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Meta to pay for the increasing video traffic they generate. These US giants originate data accounting for around 50 percent of network loads. Europe’s telecoms complain they bear massive additional costs without receiving any fees or extra revenues. For their part, the US corporations argue that such cross-industry subsidies are a form of protectionism, and they see these requests as a form of expropriation of their profits, which are much larger than those of the EU telcos. As a result, member states, industry associations, and European MPs stand divided on the issue, while the EU Commission has launched a consultation on the future of the telecoms industry. 

[Vittorio Colao was previously Italy’s minister for technological innovation and digital transition and a former CEO of Vodafone Group Plc.]

Battles over the cost of video traffic are creating a rift across the Atlantic