back to article Cloudflare opposes Europe's plan to make Big Tech help pay for networks

Cloudflare has decided to oppose the European Union’s proposed network usage fees that would see generators of internet traffic required to help telcos pay for their network builds – but not for entirely altruistic reasons. The EU’s thinking is grounded in the fact that most of the content passing over carriers’ networks comes …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let Netflix etc block ISPs who don't like all that traffic. Problem solved, no telling if their customers will stick around though... the ones who in theory are suppose to be paying for the bandwidth they're using.

    1. MatthewSt

      Arguably if the ISP doesn't like the traffic then it should be the ISP blocking it. Netflix is always an entertaining one because they actually offer hardware "free of charge" to ISPs to reduce their bandwidth burden. All you need to do is rack it, power it and network it. Saves both the ISP and Netflix on bandwidth costs (and presumably all of the transit hops in between).

      Akamai (and others presumably) do the same kind of thing, as when you navigate to Google from within Plusnet's infrastructure you don't leave their network.

      These problems are already solved for big-tech

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As does Cloudflare, amusingly

        They score some good points in the article, but they are also one of the biggest overlay networks and CDNs.

      2. prh99

        I had just assumed ISPs would be like news sites, they want to get paid by big tech but don't want to cut off the services they complain about.

  2. John Doe 12

    This old chestnut

    "Telcos complain that they end up having to spend billions on new networks, while CAPs cream the profits." - this is the inconvenient truth and no amount of yelling about net neutrality will change it.

    Cue a thread full of freetards who have little grasp on real world economics and think that ISP's are all thieves for daring to charge anything at all for Internet access :-D

    1. xcdb

      Re: This old chestnut

      Not going to pretend to be an expert on the nuances of peering and transit networks, but if Cloudflare's post is to be believed, it suggests the telcos are trying to make life as difficult as possible in the hope the EU gives them their monopoly back.

    2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: This old chestnut

      ISPs do charge for internet access. I have a bill here. The problem is that the ISPs business model is based on there being nothing to do with said bandwidth. Well, now there is, and the amount of data has exploded. If the ISP cares to renegotiate their peering charges, that's up to them, but the fact that there are now businesses selling content over the internet is simply the new reality, not some kind of crime.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      As was the case the last 10 times the big telcos tried double dipping, this is about the big ISPs trying to try to charge twice for the same traffic. Their usual tactic is to focus on the end user side, like you did.

      The reality is that both end users and companies are already paying for their connections. What the telcos want is to be able to charge three times, once for the end users monthly internet subscription, once for other side of that connection, and then if either party is actually using their connection, additional fees on top of that based on how much profit they are generating. And to be clear, each of those companies is already spending a mountain of cash in connection fees, and in many cases peering charges.

      And as others pointed out this won't stop at streaming services. Every business on the internet will be exposed to potential shakedown charges from every ISP in every country if this door is opened. If charter or Verizon is upset their customers are actually using the connections they are selling, they can address that in the access fee's and policies at the ends.

      Instead they are mounting a series of false arguments, where someone else should pay them to build a network they will charge for access to, and keep the profits. What capitalism says is that people should build a competing network instead of subsidizing the profit margin of rent-seeking would be monopolists.

      The freetards here are the incumbent Telcos in this case, begging for handouts to build tollbooths in the middle of the internet. We don't owe them anything beyond market rate, and right now when we pay more we aren't getting more. None of us are getting anything for free, and what you suggest is that they should be able to double or triple bill while pretending to keep end user costs low up front but driving up the monthly bills with "use fees"

      What you are asking for is free pass for them to claim to offer a $29.99 an month unlimited access plant and still bill $125 an month, while also driving up the price of all the services users subscribe to without contributing to their delivery or production. And as the article points out, that puts even more anti-competitive pressure on new entrants as they would have to play the same game to compete, bout would lack the leverage to negotiate the same rates as the big incumbents.

      That in the long view ensures ISP failures and consolidation, with their customers and networks absorbed by the incumbents.

      So bring a better argument to the table before you call out the locals.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: This old chestnut

      Real world economics doesn't mean that you get to charge people as many times as you like for providing the service you said you would. They are perfectly within their rights to charge, which is why I have to pay them every month if I want to have a connection. They decide how much they'll charge, and they decide such other things as how fast my packets will go and if there's a limit to how much I can use. They decide all of these things, and I get to choose between the options they give me, if they're kind enough to have multiple choices.

      What they don't get to do is charge me for a connection, then charge me again because I managed to make money using that connection. Very few places get to do that. It doesn't matter that people are making a profit by buying their services. That should be great for the ISPs; if the internet makes people money, then they'll want to put more stuff online, which means more packets flowing through the ISP's networks. Yes, the ISP will have to spend some money building a network that can handle that, but they also get to charge more because they tend to charge either by the flow used or by the data transferred, both of which are going to increase. They don't have to cut their prices, and if they are, it's because of real world economics which sometimes proves that building a functional network isn't as expensive as they'd like their users to believe it is. The reverse is also true: if an ISP doesn't want to build a new network, they're perfectly within their rights to go to their customers and say that the ADSL connection is as fast as it's going to get, so deal with it. Some companies do that, and it sometimes works out for them. Of course, when real world economics means that their users start cancelling and buying service from someone who did a better job, too bad.

    5. random internet moose

      Re: This old chestnut

      "and no amount of yelling about net neutrality will change it." Then why do you yell about it? Please, solve tour fixations at the appropriate professional help.

      "little grasp on real world economics" and don't project.

  3. v13


    I can't believe we're discussing charging for traffic in 2023. We already had that discussion 10+ years ago. We decided it's a horrible idea and we moved on.

    Those Telcos already make money. If they don't like it then they can stop providing their services and let smaller players take over.

    Oh, and "big tech" already has its own global infrastructure. YouTube traffic doesn't traverse these carriers.

    This will only harm small players and it won't be long until end users will be paying more for "premium network connections" that offer higher throughout.

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Surely a large reason why customers pay the telcos for internet connections is to use services like Netflix, Facebook, Youtube etc. I'm sure the ISP would love it if we all paid them a month subscription fee and just use their connection to check email once a week. but without these big tech services the telcos might not have grown their customer bases to the size they are now.

    Now that internet is ubiquious and there are very few hold out who don't have it, the only way the ISPs can make more money is to try and steal customers from other companies, squeeze more money out of their customers or come with new ways of making revenue.

    So they are obviously going after what they see as the cash cows of big tech, but no doubt if this does happen it won't see any reductions in end users bills, all that extra revenue will be going to the pockets of ISP shareholders.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the article

    "The EU’s thinking is grounded in the fact that most of the content passing over carriers’ networks comes from Content and Application Providers (CAPs) – Europe’s term for the likes of Netflix and YouTube which pour data onto the world’s networks," Load of fucking bollocks.

    CAPS don't pour data onto the networks. It's the networks customers who choose to suck the data down to their machine using said networks. And they pay for the bloody privilege, sometimes through their noses.

    Frankly, if it wasn't for Spotify and Apple Music, I wouldn't need the sodding internet. I can happily live without all the rest (sorry Reg).

    And surely, I can't be the only one?

  6. rcxb Silver badge

    Nobody is getting a free ride

    Service providers like Netflix pay for their side of the connection.

    Netflix's customers pay for their side of the connection.

    Nobody is getting a free ride. What's the problem?

    Are ISPs really complaining that Netflix's business model makes more money than ours does, therefore they should pay us?

    Just wait until road crews find out rich people drive on the roads they've constructed. They'll have toll booths setup right away, that only stop luxury cars of course.

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