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posted by martyb on Tuesday November 30, @10:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the double-triple-quad-penta-hexa-keep-on-dipping-money-pot dept.

Big Tech firms should pay ISPs to upgrade networks, telcos in Europe claim:

The CEOs of 13 large European telecom companies today called on tech giants—presumably including Netflix and other big US companies—to pay for a portion of the Internet service providers' network upgrade costs. In a "joint CEO statement," the European telcos described their proposal as a "renewed effort to rebalance the relationship between global technology giants and the European digital ecosystem."

The letter makes an argument similar to one that AT&T and other US-based ISPs have made at times over the past 15 years, that tech companies delivering content over the Internet get a "free" ride and should subsidize the cost of building last-mile networks that connect homes to broadband access. These arguments generally don't mention the fact that tech giants already pay for their own Internet bandwidth costs and that Netflix and others have built their own content-delivery networks to help deliver the traffic that home-Internet customers choose to receive.


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Opportunist on Tuesday November 30, @11:05AM

    by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday November 30, @11:05AM (#1200818)

    While we're at it, I'd also want the manufacturers of dishwashers, washing machines and flow heaters to take care of my power bill and the makers of stoves and heaters to pay my gas bill. After all, they're the main benefiters from me using those things!

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @11:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @11:11AM (#1200819)

    They don't build shit when they're given taxpayer money. Someone needs to press criminal charges and imprison the boards of each of these ISPs, in order to make the point stick.

    This is literal theft. Fucking thieves deserve to go to prison.

    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday December 09, @12:59AM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday December 09, @12:59AM (#1203172)

      Someone needs to press criminal charges and imprison the boards of each of these ISPs, in order to make the point stick.
      This is literal theft. Fucking thieves deserve to go to prison.

      The sort of prison they send these thieves to doesn't scare them, as if they would ever even spend a day there. No, they should require them to pay out of pocket to build the infrastructure, with no hope of relief by declaring bankruptcy. Any such remaining debt should be inherited by their heirs, so no weaseling out by committing suicide.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Tuesday November 30, @12:36PM (4 children)

    by theluggage (1797) on Tuesday November 30, @12:36PM (#1200828)

    The CEOs of 13 large European telecom companies...

    These arguments generally don't mention the fact that tech giants already pay for their own Internet bandwidth costs and that Netflix and others have built
    their own content-delivery networks to help deliver the traffic that home-Internet customers choose to receive.

    You have to ask where the "balance of power" is when it comes to the giants paying for bandwidth - and that depends on where you live.

    I understand that, in the US, there's a huge problem with regional monopolies on telecoms - so if Googlezonbook doesn't want to play nice with a monopoly broadband supplier, it's Googlezonbook who stand to lose a whole tranche of customers product who don't have a real choice of ISP.

    Here in the UK, I've got a choice of 3 different physical wired networks in the street outside my house (currently deliberating whether it is worth moving from FTTC to full fibre...) and 2-3 at-least-4G (probably soon to be 5G) mobile networks. (Not to mention a dozen resellers of those services) - all of them probably a lot cheaper than US prices. If my current ISP decided to dump/throttle Googlezonbook, I could switch ISPs at the drop of a hat*. So the boot is on the other foot - the ISPs have all the competitive pressure, while Googlezonbook have the market dominance and make money hand-over-fist without their customers product even realising...

    As for " Net Neutrality" - it's an elegant idea from a more civilised age in which the Internet was just making use of idle time on the telecoms networks... Now, it's a great idea, but someone will have to pay the bill, so don't expect Net Neutrality and cheap all-you-can-eat broadband.

    (*....or, if it's Tw@tbook they drop, recommend them to all my friends... :-) )

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday November 30, @03:35PM (3 children)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday November 30, @03:35PM (#1200876)

      Here in the UK, I've got a choice of 3 different physical wired networks in the street outside my house (currently deliberating whether it is worth moving from FTTC to full fibre...) and 2-3 at-least-4G (probably soon to be 5G) mobile networks. (Not to mention a dozen resellers of those services)

      Let me take a wild guess here...you live somewhere in the greater London area?

      Yes, congratulations, you have a lot more choice. We don't like our monopolies over here any more than you do.

      --

      I seem to remember that the government has *already* subsidized the telecoms to build out more infrastructure, which they mostly pocketed and went about business as usual overselling their networks and complaining it was too expensive to lay new wires.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Tuesday November 30, @04:15PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 30, @04:15PM (#1200890) Journal

        I live in rural France - but there are at least 4 ISPs I can choose from. The connections are unbundled - the same bits of wire can be used by any ISP.

        Now, I can't today get a fibre connection in the countryside but if I don't get a good service from my ISP I can change within 24 hours.

        --
        It's always my fault...
      • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Tuesday November 30, @04:31PM

        by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 30, @04:31PM (#1200895)

        Let me take a wild guess here...you live somewhere in the greater London area?

        Well I'm not (approx 200M north, small market town) but availability is similar. I can't get fttp, yet, but for physical both cable and fttc are available, as is mobile from multiple providers, 4G at least (don't have any 5G capable stuff to check that coverage).

      • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Tuesday November 30, @05:51PM

        by theluggage (1797) on Tuesday November 30, @05:51PM (#1200911)

        Let me take a wild guess here...you live somewhere in the greater London area?

        No. Outskirts of a Midlands city - in the top 20 but outside of the top 10 UK cities by population. Nowhere "special". The tarmac is still fresh over the Fibre option, but there has been a choice between FTTC and TV cable, plus a couple of 4G mobile networks, for years.

        This isn't about the rural broadband problem (which still exists) - but with 82% of the UK population living in urban areas (according to Google), that means that a *lot* of the UK population will have a choice of at least two physical networks (usually ADSL/FTTC or TV cable) so no ISP can afford to drop or restrict a major service.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @12:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @12:44PM (#1200829)

    there's only apple and google. 50% of new phone price goes to all registered (and working) wireless network operators? lol

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by stretch611 on Tuesday November 30, @12:45PM (2 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 30, @12:45PM (#1200830)

    I pay my ISP to carry data, isn't that enough? If I want to connect to xyzsite.com isn't that included in my fee? Why would I pay the ISP for internet access if I couldn't connect to anything that they don't own?

    I pay taxes too... a big portion of which has gone to the ISP to build their crappy system in the first place, and then more to upgrade it over time. (I assume it is similar in the EU.)

    A big traffic site like netflix... It pays an ISP (or runs its own expensive hardware to connect to the internet) It also pays some companies a lot of money in interconnect fees where the traffic between networks is lopsided. (So they don't slow down netflix and force it to lose customers.)

    Its just a money grab from a company that would be obsolete if not for the value of a wire to its customers that has been paid for already many times over.

    I have a better idea than the telecom's CEOs... make interconnection fees illegal (after all it is their customers request and most customers are bandwidth limited by pricing.) Also make any subsidy handed out to the ISPs (which honestly should no longer happen with the big telecom monopolies,) be only allowed only for actual material costs on the upgrade... no allowance for any part of it to go to the CEO and stockholder compensation, or marketing. If they complain (and they will) use the subsidies to create a community broadband provider.

    --
    I think; therefore, I am vaccinated (and boosted.)
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by sjames on Tuesday November 30, @01:34PM

      by sjames (2882) on Tuesday November 30, @01:34PM (#1200840) Journal

      THIS! They already sold the bandwidth to their customers and at the price they chose (A price well above cost if they are even vaguely efficient).

      Do they really think all those households would pay them for Internet service if there was nothing out there that provided any content?

      Meanwhile, years ago, Netflix offered caching servers that an ISP could host on their internal network to drastically cut their upstream bandwidth cost but most of the ISPs demanded huge colo fees or refused outright.

      This is every bit as absurd as water works sending Richard Simmons a bill because he made their customers sweat to the oldies and increased demand for water.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday November 30, @04:13PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 30, @04:13PM (#1200888) Journal

      YES, THIS!

      If the ISP isn't getting enough money because I use Big Tech, then CHARGE ME. I expect the ISP to be able to (1) build its infrastructure, (2) maintain it, and (3) make a reasonable profit. If they are not able to do all three, then they need to CHARGE ME more.

      Netflix (and all Big Tech) already pay quite handsomely for their own end of the connection.

      --
      Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone . . . the microchips are not in the vaccine but are in the Ivermectin!
  • (Score: 2) by ledow on Tuesday November 30, @01:51PM (7 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Tuesday November 30, @01:51PM (#1200845) Homepage

    Or you could just tax them properly and then give a subsidy from that tax to ISPs as an essential utility.

    Almost like the solution is literally there, staring you in the face, and been around for hundreds of years.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by stormreaver on Tuesday November 30, @04:02PM (6 children)

      by stormreaver (5101) on Tuesday November 30, @04:02PM (#1200882)

      Or you could just tax them properly and then give a subsidy from that tax to ISPs as an essential utility.

      Subsidizing ISP's through taxes has been done for decades here in the U.S., and it has resulted in some of the worst Internet service in the developed world. The best model I've yet seen is to have the essential utility provider provide essential services -- the utility company.

      Where I live, the utility company has laid the fiber trunk throughout the entire city (strictly speaking, it's ongoing, but is in full swing), but doesn't provide the actual Internet service. That is done by traditional (or newly minted) Internet providers. However, the city owns and maintains the fiber. If the fiber trunk has problems, the utility company fixes it. This bypasses all of the monopoly abuse commonly seen when the ISP owns the wires, and allows for multiple Internet providers to complete on the quality of their service.

      I've had fiber to the home for about six months now, and it's the best Internet service I've ever had. Symmetrical gigabit, no caps, no artificial limits or distinctions between business or residential service, no blocked ports, etc. Enabling small business growth through Internet connectivity was one of the justifications for the project, and commercial use of the fiber to the home is encouraged.

      I used to pay over a hundred dollars a month for Cable Internet at 200mb/20mb with a 2TB cap. Now I pay $65/month for 1gpbs/1gbps with no caps or other limits.

      • (Score: 2, Disagree) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday November 30, @06:25PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday November 30, @06:25PM (#1200916) Journal

        Subsidizing ISP's through taxes...

        Ah yes, a truly unique combination of the worst bits of capitalism combined with the worst bits of socialism!

        AMERICA FUCK YEAH!

      • (Score: 2) by ledow on Wednesday December 01, @07:00PM (1 child)

        by ledow (5567) on Wednesday December 01, @07:00PM (#1201223) Homepage

        Don't confuse your monopolistic nonsense with provision of all ISPs when classed as an essential service.

        Whoever lays the cable/fibre, everyone needs to be able to pay the same price as the ISP who laid it to get access to it.

        The US system doesn't work because of the allowance of monopoly, not because of tax/subsidy.

        • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Thursday December 02, @04:37PM

          by stormreaver (5101) on Thursday December 02, @04:37PM (#1201546)

          Don't confuse your monopolistic nonsense with provision of all ISPs when classed as an essential service.

          Can you elaborate on what this means? I don't understand.

          Whoever lays the cable/fibre, everyone needs to be able to pay the same price as the ISP who laid it to get access to it.

          I think we largely agree with the basic gist of this. In the model being used by my utility company, though, the utility company is not an ISP. It is more like a common carrier facilitator of ISP's. All ISP's providing service over the common fiber get equal access.

          The US system doesn't work because of the allowance of monopoly, not because of tax/subsidy.

          While I agree with your core premise (ISP monopolies are bad), that is just one of many factors that have lead to the terrible U.S. ISP industry, and which is instantly solved by this model. Our tax money, though, has been (and still is) being given out in HUGE amounts to keep those monopolies entrenched, with no requirements that they actually help the taxpayers. This is something I could easily talk about at great length. The two are intimately intertwined.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday December 02, @12:18AM (2 children)

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday December 02, @12:18AM (#1201317)

        Where I live, the utility company has laid the fiber trunk throughout the entire city

        Works fine, if you don't live in a state like Florida which has banned this sort of thing.

        • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Thursday December 02, @04:24PM (1 child)

          by stormreaver (5101) on Thursday December 02, @04:24PM (#1201542)

          ...if you don't live in a state like Florida which has banned this sort of thing.

          I would have to read Florida's statute to be sure, but the general gist of the laws I read prohibit utility companies from providing Internet service. My own state has just this type of ban as well. However, the utility company is not providing Internet service. It is providing the physical lines over which private companies provide the actual Internet service.

          • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday December 09, @12:54AM

            by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday December 09, @12:54AM (#1203169)

            Florida's main reasoning behind the law was to prevent municipalities from providing low cost or even free internet for their areas.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @02:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @02:12PM (#1200852)

    How is this logic different from,

    The post office wanting to charge extra because your are making money with the mail you are sending?
    Or the phone company because you are doing business with the call?
    Or the utility with the power?

    In each of these, there may be some increased charges so business subsidizes private, but ISP,s already do this in the crazy prices they charge for commercial internet access.
    Historically, throwing money to telco's to pay for upgrades has tended to fund much profit and little upgrade.

    I can understand the carrier looking with jealousy at the content provider's profits, but taking the profit without the risk is something reserved for taxes.

    Currently, Internet interconnection is kind of the Wild West. Perhaps what is needed is a better definition of what service an ISP is selling it's customer. (What bandwidth and to and from which other ISP's?)
    Going back to the old idea of public exchange points might level the playing field to make this possible.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @02:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @02:36PM (#1200858)

    At least here in the U.S. my ISP charges me a fortune for internet access. It's no where near free.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @04:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, @04:12PM (#1200887)

    Why don't the CEO's fund this expansion themselves out of their own huge salaries? They don't add any value to the companies they "lead" and since the start of the pandemic have mostly been annoying staff by sending out weird videos about how busy they are. Now that we don't need to fund their pointless trips around the world and the expensive lunches and dinners they all simply MUST attend in person we could funnel that cash toward infrastructure growth too.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with comments further up that Netflix/Google and co. all fund peering links and CDN to reduce pressure on the internet and each and every one of us has already paid for the last mile to our premises (or we couldn't be reading this). It's the shameful greedy CEO's that need to pay up - and try to eliminate the horrific wage inequality within telecoms.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 30, @04:14PM

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 30, @04:14PM (#1200889) Journal

    Charge / Tax ISPs a subsidy and give that money to Big Tech to compensate Big Tech for the poor performance the ISPs in delivering connections between Big Tech and their end users.

    --
    Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone . . . the microchips are not in the vaccine but are in the Ivermectin!
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday December 01, @03:50PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday December 01, @03:50PM (#1201160) Homepage Journal

    Nobody feels entitled like the super rich, who feel like they're entitled to everything at your expense.

    --
    Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
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