- vzbv opposes all forms of data fees for content providers.
- Data fees would mean consumers paying double.
- vzbv: There is no regulatory need for data fees.
The European Commission is currently examining how streaming services and other internet content providers such as Google could help to finance the expansion of Europe’s broadband network. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv) opposes all forms of network fees under discussion. Data fees of this sort would have numerous disadvantages for consumers, including less content and choice, and higher costs. vzbv has detailed its relevant position in a statement.
“The European Commission’s idea of data fees for streaming services, Google, and other internet content providers threatens the whole concept of an open and free internet – without any reasonable justification. The negative consequences for consumers, competition, and net neutrality must be given greater weight than the profit concerns of the telecommunications industry,” says Ramona Pop, Executive Director of vzbv. “However, the public consultation so far leads us to believe that the European Commission plans to go ahead with its proposal for data fees, without any concern for the negative side-effects. Consumer interests appear to be given no consideration.”
A fee to use broadband infrastructure could lead to distortion of competition, which would negatively impact the relationship between price, performance and the diversity of services available to consumers. Content providers might withdraw from the market due to higher costs and less competitive conditions. This would mean less consumer choice and worse streaming quality. It is also possible that content providers would pass additional costs onto their customers. Consumers would then pay double for broadband infrastructure.
vzbv therefore opposes any such legislative initiatives.
There have been discussions about network fees for internet content providers within Europe for more than a year now. Both telecommunications providers and the European Commission have been pushing the topic. The idea is that in the future internet content providers would have to pay to use broadband infrastructure. The European Commission has launched a consultation to examine whether to propose legislation regarding the issue. To date, no evidence of a market failure has been provided. vzbv thus sees no need for regulation. vzbv has been part of the consultation and will remain closely involved in the ongoing process.