03 March 2023, by Victoria Séveno
The Dutch government has spoken out against the EU’s prospective plan to implement a tax or toll charge on streaming services that would help cover internet costs for European telecom companies, arguing that the charges will ultimately result in higher prices for customers.
EU looking into introducing new internet toll for high-traffic sites
For years, a group of major European telecom companies, including Orange and Deutsche Telekom, have lobbied for a financial contribution from big tech companies – specifically streaming services – arguing that these platforms and their high traffic put heavy burdens on the network. Ideally, the industry would use the money from the so-called internet toll to invest in new technologies and improved digital infrastructure.
Various companies that would be targeted by the tax, including Google, Apple and Netflix, have spoken out against the plans, pointing out that it would undermine the EU “net neutrality” legislation that states all users and services must be treated equally.
Dutch government argues Netflix tax would just lead to higher prices
This week, Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriaansens made international headlines when he spoke out against the EU’s plans. According to Adriaansens, a study commissioned by the Dutch government and carried out by Oxera Consulting revealed that the toll “does not directly lead to extra investments in the construction or quality of digital infrastructure.”
“Telecom providers are paid twice with an extra toll,” Adriaansens said in a statement, pointing out that customers already pay a fee in order to access content on platforms such as Netflix and Spotify. “Streaming services will, in part, pass on extra costs to their customers. As a result, consumers are expected to pay more.”
Speaking to NU, Stratix telecom expert, Rudolf van der Berg, agreed. “The internet is built in such a way that everyone pays for their own data traffic. That makes the internet efficient,” he pointed out, adding that “customers already pay for more [internet] than they use.”
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