German cable operator association FRK wants streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook und YouTube to participate in the costs of upgrading their networks for the gigabit future through a carriage fee, arguing that business models based on the idea of free data highways must come to an end.
At the FRK Broadband Congress in Leipzig, the interest group of medium-sized cable operators proposed a monthly fee of up to 1€ per customer or, alternatively, a volume-based payment.
“In the long term, no business model based one-sidedly on the idea of free data highways will work if the private operators of these infrastructures lack the money needed to maintain and expand their infrastructure”, stressed FRK Chairman Heinz-Peter Labonte.
“Through broadband networks, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Google and Facebook are developing into global TV giants evading any responsibility and regulation, not only in Germany. At the same time, these providers threaten the existence of functioning national structures of TV markets, TV channels and network operators in the long run,” said Labonte. “The contribution to the infrastructure upgrade should not be placed onto consumers, but on providers generating billions of euros at the expense of network operators and, ultimately, the general public.”
“From a rational point of view, these providers and other interest groups regard the private property of network operators as public domain equally available to all users, ideally at a small flat rate,” Labonte continued. “But the questions really important for the operator and, ultimately, the user are completely ignored: How can I refinance the investments needed for expansion? How can data streams be managed intelligently? How do I ensure the quality and security of data transports on my network in the long run?”
The payments from OTT players called for by FRK would “ultimately benefit both consumers and companies equally as excellently upgraded network infrastructures are an important precondition for the competitiveness of the German economy and society and also contribute to the future viability of our country,” said Labonte. “To achieve this, it is necessary for all market players to join forces.”