EU telcos demand Google pay for traffic

Michael Carroll
12 Apr 2010

Three of Europe’s leading incumbent telcos are challenging Google to pay them for carrying YouTube content.

Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and Telefonica want the search giant to share ad revenues to cover the cost of carrying bandwidth-hungry content on their networks, reports.

The trio will seek regulatory intervention if Google refuses to acquiesce to their demands, Telefonica CEO Cesar Alierta said.

Google’s relationship with telcos is increasingly fraught, with many operators claiming the search giant wants to reduce them to dumb pipes.

“There is something totally not normal and contrary to economic logic to let Google use our network without paying the price for this,” said Stéphane Richard, France Telecom’s new CEO.

CEO Eric Schmidt denied his firm would turn carriers into dumb pipes in a speech to mobile operators in Barcelona in February, but was reticent about granting too much power to the carriers.

The calls for Google to pay for YouTube content mirrors net neutrality debates in the US, and highlight a broader issue regarding who covers the cost of bandwidth-hungry applications.

Telefonica has already floated the idea of charging internet search engines for the data they send rather than consumers, because the web firms currently contribute nothing towards network rollout and management.

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