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Vestager’s idea for tech to pay telecom costs gets more pushback

Seven countries sent a jointly written letter urging the European Commission to be cautious as it considers measures to force internet companies to help pay for upgrades to telecom firms’ infrastructure.

Commission officials including Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager and Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton — said in May that they are interested in examining how streaming platforms such as Netflix Inc. and Google’s YouTube could help telecom providers shoulder the cost of the infrastructure they rely on.

No formal proposal has yet been made, and lawmakers haven’t said when one might take place. Still, just the idea that it’s possible caused alarm among tech companies, net neutrality advocates, lawmakers, and now member states.

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

It also suggested the commission wait for a final analysis from the EU’s telecom regulating body, as well as open consultations with the the bloc’s members and the public.

Members of the European Parliament also wrote a letter to the commission last week to express “deep concern” over the “radical proposal.” Politico first reported that letter. Bloomberg

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