by Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google’s Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 unit on Monday rejected a bid by European telecom companies to get Big Tech to help fund network costs, saying it was a 10-year-old idea that was bad for consumers and that the company was already investing millions in the infrastructure Internet infrastructure.
The comments by Matt Brittain, Google’s head of business and operations for Europe, Middle East and Africa, come as the European Commission has said it will seek feedback from the telecoms and technology industries on the issue in the coming months before any legislative proposal is submitted.
Deutsche Telekom (OTC :), Orange, Telefonica (NYSE:) and other major operators have long complained about tech competitors circulating freely on their networks, saying they use a large portion of internet traffic and should contribute financially.
Britten said the idea, which was proposed more than 10 years ago, could disrupt Europe’s net neutrality or open up Internet access.
“Introducing the ‘sender pays’ principle is not a new idea, and it will upend many principles of the open internet, according to the text of the speech to be delivered at a conference organized by communications lobby group ETNO.
“These arguments are similar to those we heard 10 or more years ago and we haven’t seen new data changing the situation.”
Such concerns “could have a negative impact on consumers, especially at a time of high prices,” Britten said, citing a report by European consumer group BEUC that identified such concerns.
He said that Google, the owner of YouTube, has done its part to make it more efficient for telecom service providers by moving 99% of the way and investing millions of euros to do so.
“In 2021, we invested more than €23 billion in capital expenditures – most of it related to infrastructure,” Britten said.
These include six large data centers in Europe, 20 undersea cables globally, five in Europe, and caches for storing digital content within local networks in 20 locations in Europe.