ETNO wants UN help in sharing web investment cost

Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:13pm EDT

* EU telecoms providers want online content providers to share network costs

* U.N. agency to meet in December to revise 1988 rules

* Not clear if telcos can get Google, Apple, Yahoo to pay up

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, June 11 (Reuters) - EU telecoms lobbying group ETNO has called on the United Nations to adopt rules making it easier for telecoms operators and web content providers such as Google to share the bill for upgrading networks struggling with data-heavy Internet applications.

ETNO, whose members include Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and France Telecom's Orange, tabled its proposals to U.N. agency the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Delegations from ITU's 193 member countries will meet in Dubai in December to revise rules first written in 1988.

The rules should be updated to take into account the explosion of data on telecoms providers' networks in the last two decades and the constraint this poses on the infrastructure, said ETNO head Luigi Gambardella.

"The revised rules should acknowledge the challenges of the new Internet economy and the principles that fair compensation is received for carried traffic and operators' revenues should not be disconnected from the investment needs caused by rapid Internet traffic growth," Gambardella said in a statement.

ETNO's (the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association) call comes as Europe's telecom sector grapples with falling revenues which have hit the shares of leaders such as Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, both of which are at their lowest in a decade.

The sector also faces pressure from EU regulators to roll out high-speed broadband networks.

However, it is far from certain whether telecoms providers would have the leverage to charge Google, Apple or Yahoo for disseminating their material even if the U.N. adopts ETNO's proposal.

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