Ireland among countries opposing EU ‘streaming fees’

Seven countries, including Ireland, have sent a joint written letter urging the European Commission to be cautious as it considers moves to force internet companies to help pay for telecoms companies’ infrastructure upgrades.

Commission officials – including Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton – said in May they wanted to examine how streaming platforms such as Netflix Inc and Google’s YouTube could help service providers telecommunications to bear the cost of the infrastructure on which they rely.

No formal proposal has yet been made, and lawmakers have not said when that might take place. Yet the mere idea that it is possible has alarmed tech companies, net neutrality advocates, lawmakers and now member states.

The commission should have an “open and transparent debate” on the idea before presenting a formal proposal, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and the Netherlands said in the letter.

He also suggested the committee wait for a final analysis from the EU telecoms regulator, as well as open consultations with bloc members and the public.

Members of the European Parliament also wrote a letter to the committee last week expressing their “deep concern” at the “radical proposal”. Politico first reported this letter.

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