AT&T's 2005 proclamation that they wanted content companies to subsidize their network build for absolutely no solid reason (since content companies and consumers alike already pay for bandwidth) has long since kind of become a cornerstone of "telco think" worldwide, in the process kicking off the modern net neutrality debate. It's an entitlement mindset forged among the disconnected executives in government-pampered, yes-men packed monopoly meeting rooms, and it has slowly infected the brains of European executives as well.
Companies like Spain's Telefonica have tried to argue that Google should pay them extra money just because
. In unison with France Telecom, Telecom Italia, and Swisscom have even taken the idea to the UN in the hopes of making it mandatory international law
Given a company like Google already pays for bandwidth (and in fact owns significant infrastructure of their own), the logic is utterly idiotic if not downright extortion. The Earth would shake from the speed in which these same telcos would balk if Google or Microsoft decided to start charging ISPs a toll to allow ISP customers to use search engines.
With that said, Techdirt
directs our attention to a new proposal by European telcos to the ITU, in which they argue (again) via their ETNO trade group that content companies should be funding their network deployments -- just because. It's almost a work of art in the way they make something that is so idiotic sound almost like a real policy, with just a few very light threats concerning Internet stability thrown in for good measure:
The aim of the ETNO proposal is to contribute to the achievement of a more sustainable model for the Internet. ETNO is not asking for increased regulatory intervention but aims to establish a reference for commercial negotiations. The current interconnection model has some shortcomings that need to be addressed. Today there is a huge disproportion amongst revenues and a clear shift of value towards players (Over the Top players -- OTT) who are not contributing to network investment. Traffic and revenue flows need to be realigned in order to assure the economic viability of infrastructure investment and the sustainability of the whole ecosystem. The revision of the ITRs offers a unique opportunity to propose high‐level principles for IP interconnection.
As Mike Masnick at Techdirt
quite correctly notes, that's simply flowery language for "pay us for absolutely no reason because we don't like having to pay for network upgrades." It's again just lazy telco monopolists (who whine about government and regulation until they want protectionist laws or hand outs) demanding that government force content companies to pay a completely unnecessary tax -- one that goes right into the monopolists pocket. The fact that these ridiculous proposals get serious floor time anywhere highlights the biggest benefit of being a monopoly with an unlimited lobbying budget: government protectionism and regulatory capture.