Cabinet opposes ‘toll’ for streaming services

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Streaming services on a phone
NOS News

The government opposes European plans to allow telecom companies to impose an extra charge on streaming services and other services that lead to a lot of internet traffic. According to Minister Adriaansens of Economic Affairs, research shows that such a ‘toll’ only benefits the telecom companies, and that consumers mainly pay more.

Telecom companies want to impose an extra charge on popular services such as Netflix, Spotify and Viaplay, because they put a heavy burden on the network. The telecom companies say they want to use the money to invest in new digital infrastructure. The European Commission may want to allow the levy and has recently launched a consultation for this purpose.

But according to Adriaansens, such a levy will largely be passed on to subscribers and viewers. As a result, they will pay more, while they have already lost money to the telecom companies for access to the internet. This means that the telecom providers are paid twice, Adriaansens believes.

Does not lead to investments

The minister has commissioned economists from the Oxera bureau to conduct research, which also shows that such a European ‘toll’ “does not immediately lead to extra investments in the construction or quality of digital infrastructure”. She has sent the investigation to the House of Representatives and Brussels “to express Dutch concerns”.

In addition, the Netherlands, along with other European countries, believes that the plans are in conflict with what is known as ‘net neutrality’. In 2015, it was agreed that telecom providers may not block, delay or impose separate rates for internet traffic for different services.

“All things considered, the cabinet argues that this is not the right path to realize the European digitization ambitions,” says Adriaansens.

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