Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Google The Almighty Buck

In EU, Google Accused of YouTube "Free Ride" 449

Posted by kdawson
from the so-you-want-them-to-make-you-even-more-obsolete dept.
An anonymous reader passes along a Financial Times piece that covers a push by EU telecoms to get Google to pay them directly — years after US ISPs began rattling that sword, to little effect thus far. "Some of Europe's leading telecoms groups are squaring up for a fight with Google over what they claim is the free ride enjoyed by the technology company's YouTube video-sharing service. Telefónica, France Telecom, and Deutsche Telekom all said Google should start paying them for carrying bandwidth-hungry content such as YouTube video over their networks.... Some European telecoms groups fear Google will reduce them to 'dumb pipes' because the internet search and advertising company pays the network operators little or nothing for carrying its content. Rick Whitt, a senior policy director at Google in Washington ... said Google was spending large amounts on its own data networks to carry its traffic to the point where it is handed over to telecoms companies round the world." Note that FT.com operates on a "first few per month free" paywall basis.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

In EU, Google Accused of YouTube "Free Ride"

Comments Filter:
  • Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921)
    Google had to, sooner or later, start fighting such a fight. Interesting is that European, and not Asian or American, ISPs are engaging it. Who wins this fight ? It could have a big impact upon how the internet looks in a few years.
    • by Tim C (15259)

      Google had to, sooner or later, start fighting such a fight. Interesting is that European, and not Asian or American, ISPs are engaging it.

      What? Even the summary mentions that American ISPs have already tried this, though with no success to date. European ISPs are just following American ISPs' lead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rwjyoung (674310)
      What ever happened to Common carrier status ? If ISP's start charging like this, surely they should loose any common carrier status they claim to have now and become responsible for what they carry, opening them up to all the liabilities that come with that. If they are anything other than big dumb pipes they have to accept responsibility for all the child porn and copy write material flowing across there networks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Schoenlepel (1751646)

      I'm from the Netherlands, so I don't deal with the providers in question.

      Interesting detail is that these companies are mostly large monopolies, so google could simply start complaining about monopoly abuse.

      And for added worries to those companies: the EU tends to respond quite allergic to monopoly abuse.

      If that wasn't enough, wait until various consumer organizations learn about this. While they're basically powerless in the US, over here they can generate a world of hurt for companies.

      I'd actually like th

  • by grimsnaggle (1320777) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:55AM (#31828732)
    Google bought some bandwidth to be able to send site content to users. Those users bought some bandwidth to be able to receive it. What's the problem?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Stan Vassilev (939229)

      Google bought some bandwidth to be able to send site content to users. Those users bought some bandwidth to be able to receive it. What's the problem?

      Technically Google doesn't buy lots of bandwidth nowadays, the way people might imagine. They instead hook directly to many peers and at the backbones. That said, when the rest of us pay for "bandwidth", we pay exactly for building and maintaining the kind of infrastructure Google built themselves. But it explains why on the surface you can spin it like they did.

  • dumb pipe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slart42 (694765) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:55AM (#31828740)

    Some European telecoms groups fear Google will reduce them to 'dumb pipes'

    And I 'dumb pipe' is all I ever expected from my ISP, and it is what I'm paying for! If they want Google to pay for delivering the content, I will get access for free, right? Bullshit.

  • Who pays? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aitan (948581) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:56AM (#31828742)

    Yes, those poor telecoms that gives their users free access to the internet must be paid back by Google. How does Google dares to provide content and expect the charity telecoms to be the only ones that pay for those bills. I'm outraged.

    Wait a minute....

    Then why my telecom is sending me a monthly fee?

  • European Telecoms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qbast (1265706) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:56AM (#31828744)
    Dear telecomns, in case you have not noticed: you are 'dumb pipes' and always were. Get over it, stop whining and start providing the bandwidth you advertise.
  • by supertjx (910400) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:57AM (#31828748)
    Google should just tell those telecom companies to block YouTube from their networks if they think it's taking up too much bandwidth. Let's see who suffers.
    • by fearlezz (594718) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:09AM (#31828808) Homepage

      Google should charge those ISPs for making their dumb pipes interesting enough for users to buy.

      • And users should charge Google for visiting YouTube so that get an income from advertising, and charge Google for uploading content to YouTube so that people will visit.

        This starts to look like a circular dependency. We might as well not charge anybody and thereby save money on accounting.

        • Accounting (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:14AM (#31829180) Journal
          "This starts to look like a circular dependency. We might as well not charge anybody and thereby save money on accounting."

          Remminds me of the story about the rich man and the poor village....A rich man walks into a hotel in a poor village where all the bussinesses are in debt. He gives the hotelier $100 for a room on the condition that if he doesn't like it he will take the money back and leave. The hotelier gives him the keys, confident the rich man will like the room he takes the $100 and pays the grocer for the food he bought on credit. The grocer takes the $100 and pays back the farmer the money he owes him, the farmer uses it to pay back the blacksmith who then goes to the hotel to pay off his debt to the hooker who in turn gives it to the hotelier for past rent. The rich man comes back dissatisfied with the room, takes the $100 and leaves the village. Nothing has changed but the village is now debt free.
          • Actually, the village was debt free from the beginning - everyone owed someone else $100 and was owed $100 by someone different in a circular fashion, balancing to $0 for everyone. The story only works under the assumption that there is zero liquid cash in town, so the balancing can't actually be realized.
          • It's an amusing story, but that exact thing - on a larger scale - is what happens if an economy has too little money in it.

            It's why we can't use a gold standard. The money supply has to expand or shrink at the same rate as the economy.

          • Remminds me of the story about the rich man and the poor village....A rich man walks into a hotel in a poor village where all the bussinesses are in debt. He gives the hotelier $100 for a room on the condition that if he doesn't like it he will take the money back and leave. The hotelier gives him the keys, confident the rich man will like the room he takes the $100 and pays the grocer for the food he bought on credit. The grocer takes the $100 and pays back the farmer the money he owes him, the farmer uses it to pay back the blacksmith who then goes to the hotel to pay off his debt to the hooker who in turn gives it to the hotelier for past rent. The rich man comes back dissatisfied with the room, takes the $100 and leaves the village. Nothing has changed but the village is now debt free.

            And that's is how things would work in a sane world. (Minus the prostitute.)

            And by "Sane" I mean, "Free of Usury". In fact, things would work even better than that, because the Sun keeps pumping energy into the system. The planet is one gigantic solar collector. Logically, scarcity should only ever be a temporary situation at the worst of times because there is simply so much raw energy freely available. But that's not how it works in reality. Why?

            Because of the cowardice of the Dark Side and their fea

        • Not really, all it depends on is bargaining power. Google definitely has the upper hand here, because of the popularity of YouTube.
          And so do the customers by the way, who can instantly cancel their ISP if they start blocking traffic.

      • Ironic, isn't it? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Namarrgon (105036) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:44AM (#31829000) Homepage

        On one hand we have content providers like Murdoch saying Google should pay them for the content Google is providing access to.

        And on the other hand we have telcos saying Google should pay them because they're providing access to Google's content.

        It's the fate of any success story; Google has money, they want it for themselves, and they think it's easier to get Google's than to earn their own.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kodr (1777678)
      I think it's already the case in France with the operator Free. I experience some massive throttling during evenings and week-ends, which doesn't happen if I go through a proxy.
  • by Elementalor (551544) <baraja@g m a i l . com> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:57AM (#31828750) Homepage

    The European Telecom operators should know that we, Internet subscribers, pay for our connection top Euros to be able to access sites like Google, Gmail or Youtube. Google is offering most of their services for free to their users and we, as clients of the Telecom companies, are already paying.

    At least, Spain's Telefonica CEO demonstates he's just a parasite that doesn't know about what he's talking except getting more money from Google and their clients. If you understand the Spanish talked by a almost drunk man, you'll get the point watching this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVADWAxOZtg [youtube.com]

    • Of course they are (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:19AM (#31828880)

      All this bitching, be it in the US or the EU, is just about the telecoms wanting to double-dip. All bandwidth is paid for, one way or another. In the case of extremely large connections, like connections between Tier-1 ISPs, the cost is shared between the two ISPs. When they peer, it is an agreement where they say "You pay the costs of your equipment and lines, we'll pay the costs of ours, and we don't charge each other anything to trade data." At every level down from there, it is paid by a smaller consumer. If you are a smaller ISP, you pay the bigger ones for access to their networks. Individuals, businesses, etc then pay those ISPs for access to their network. All the bandwidth is being paid for.

      They just want to double charge. They want to tell Google that they should have to pay because Google's data goes over their network.

      Of course, if push came to shove, I'd bank on Google winning. Dumbass ISP X says "Ok, we are throttling Google traffic and/or blocking Youtube." Google says "Ok, we are blacklisting all your IPs and showing your users a page that explains what dicks you are and what you need to change for us to restore access." My bet? Consumers get furious at their ISP and either force a change, or simply switch to a new one.

      • I don't think that the conclusion is foregone. The issue, at least on the US side, is that there are few enough ISPs now that if you find your ISP "doesn't have google" the other two might not either. This would be a pretty obvious collusion situation, and therefore would go unprosecuted.

  • by cjeze (596987)
    If they complain about high traffic from google/youtube they should block them and let their users decide themselves if they want a ISP that will provide these services.
  • by astrashe (7452) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @04:59AM (#31828756) Journal

    If we're not going to buy into net neutrality, why does it follow that google should pay the telecoms? Why shouldn't they pay google for enhancing their service?

    If google stopped serving pages to people connecting through specific ISPs, those ISPs would go under. Who here wouldn't change their provider if they couldn't get google? You wouldn't really be on the net without google.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:00AM (#31828758)

    Like, the customers? If I'm paying for 10GB of data at 10Mbps each month, and the ISP is oversubscribed to uselessness, that's not Google's vault, that's the ISP's false advertising at work.

  • This is like suing a car manufacturer because somebody got run over by a car they created.
  • Note to telecoms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by diablovision (83618) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:03AM (#31828782)

    Note to telecoms: You were, are, and always will be, dumb pipes. Stop complaining, it used to be that you guys made respectable money selling dumb pipes to people who needed them. Of course, that was back before you became a bunch of bloated gasbags intent on squeezing every last packet out of the internet.

  • by muckracer (1204794) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:09AM (#31828812)

    Dear Mr. NuttyProf,

    we have noticed you've been having a personal web site since 1993. With the statistics you graciously provide publicly we gather, that your site gets accessed several dozen times per month. Since we provide the channels bringing your content to our customers, we'd like to request you to review the attached contract and initiate a monthly fee of $14.95 in order for us to continue to serve your needs in the high quality you have come to expect of us....

    Sincerely,

    AnyOfTheLargeISPs

  • by jafo (11982) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:10AM (#31828826) Homepage
    It's not like these telecoms customers are paying them for access to the Internet, so they need to get their revenue from somewhere. Oh, wait...

    This is not cable TV, you can't "unbundle premium channels", stop clinging to your ancient business models and come up with a good one.

    What I don't think they've fully thought out is the end-game. Possible options:

    1) Google pays them. Google then starts getting invoices from every ISP around, from the little mom-and-pops to the tier-1s demanding a cut of the pie.

    2) Google cuts them off so that the above doesn't happen. These ISPs customers start screaming "Why am I paying you for access to the Internet, when you aren't providing it?" and they start switching to other providers that aren't pulling this.

    Come on, telcoms! You're already charging users for access to the Internet, and the businesses they visit for access to the Internet. How many more times do you need to get paid?

    They seem to think they're in a position of power because they control the "eyeballs", but those eyeballs will go to another provider if you don't provide access to the services they want.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The second option you give may sound nice, but we've seen this happen too many times in the US:

      User 1: My Internet connection sux and I'm paying top money for it!
      ISP: Well, we advertised "up to," so that really means that you can't get more than that.
      User 2: Just change your provider, idiot!
      User 1: I wish I could...
      User 3: Yeah, just change your provider!
      User 1: There are no other providers.
      User 4: Change the provider already!
      User 1: ...

      There are many regions in Europe where the same applies, and you fail t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GORby_ (101822)
        Hmm, sounds like a good idea for Google to just buy 1 ISP in each hypothetical country where all ISP's are blocking access to Google (if it ever gets this far) and offer reasonably priced unfiltered internet access... Let's see how long the ISP's keep blocking Google and other high bandwidth services when they see all their customers run away.
    • 2) Google cuts them off so that the above doesn't happen. These ISPs customers start screaming "Why am I paying you for access to the Internet, when you aren't providing it?" and they start switching to other providers that aren't pulling this.

      There may be areas where you can't pick another ISP, that said, something else may happen.

      In China, when you cannot reach a site, you can't opt out of China's firewall, but you use proxies. Many, many, small, widely geographically, randomly distributed proxies.

      Might be a pain to use for videos, but I never underestimate a user hellbent on getting his funny cat video.

      Good luck to the ISPs sending thousands of little invoices to every one of those proxies.

  • by Tei (520358) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:12AM (#31828840) Journal

    Telefónica is like neandertal people, really. I have read some declarations from the director, and I was forced to check the date.. I was like a talk from the dictator Franco. And France Telecom is everything that is wrong with corportations plus everything that is wrong by govern owned industry.

    Can these two companys die, please?

  • by guerby (49204) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:19AM (#31828876) Homepage
    There's a net neutrality conference organised by french regulators with people from google and FTC, video stream is available RIGHT NOW with real time english translation here: http://video.arcep.fr/arcep_13042010_en.html [arcep.fr]
    1. As other commenters have said, they are dumb pipes - that's how they pitched themselves (when they were getting established) and that's how consumers see them. Now they're trying to renegotiate the tacit contract on which the "Internet age" was established. I call bullshit.
    2. 2) This is the media lobby, with its broken business model all over again. Whilst it's understandable that execs are panicking over their capacity problems, that's the point: it's their capacity problem. Short-sightedness on the part of
  • Dear Telecoms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:28AM (#31828922) Homepage

    A dumb pipe is precisely what you are, and should continue being.

  • If the total amount of money paid by customers to the ISP is not enough to cover the bandwidth costs in the YouTube age, instead of going after Google, they should increase their prices so what the customer pays is enough to cover the outgoing bandwidth costs.

    But they dont want to do that because they will loose customers.

  • Those YouTube megabytes are being requested by end users. It is they who are getting the "ride" - and it is usually not free. Google/YouTube is just making content available on demand - as is just about every other data supplier on the net except spammers. The only people getting a free ride are spammers, because they are using a "push" mode. Before they stop or slow my YouTube, which I want, let them do something about spam.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:45AM (#31829008)

    Yeah, yeah, you're all saying "this is crazy, I've already paid for my bandwidth"...and you're all correct, but:
    As we've seen here recently, common sense or 'fairness' seems to have little to do with ISP regulation and/or behaviour.
    (See /. passim : FCC in USA, filtering in Australia...)

    Here in Europe, many countries tax blank media and playback devices [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy] in order to 'compensate' artists for 'lost' revenue.
    How long before Europe's telcos, (most of whom have strong lobbying power), actually get something like this either legislated, or get Google to cough up some money just by threatening to get it legislated?

    They're already trying to grab some of Google's ad revenue:
    "French President Nicolas Sarkozy is mulling a recommendation to impose a tax on Internet ad revenues in France. The proposal is aimed at helping the French culture industries survive the new digital age. But critics say it is absurd, unworkable and will do little more than prop up failing business models."
    [http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,670837,00.html]

    • Here in Europe, many countries tax blank media and playback devices [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_copying_levy] in order to 'compensate' artists for 'lost' revenue. How long before Europe's telcos, (most of whom have strong lobbying power), actually get something like this either legislated, or get Google to cough up some money just by threatening to get it legislated?

      Yeah, and what are they going to do, tax users for accessing Youtube? Or better yet they can block Youtube until Google pays.

      Followed by millions of angry users switching to another ISP.

    • They're already trying to grab some of Google's ad revenue: "French President Nicolas Sarkozy is mulling a recommendation to impose a tax on Internet ad revenues in France. The proposal is aimed at helping the French culture industries survive the new digital age. But critics say it is absurd, unworkable and will do little more than prop up failing business models."

      ...and now you understand why Google has no physical presence in France. Same with Italy. The "failing business model" in this case is a coun

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:45AM (#31829010)

    Given that it was a European (well, Briton, but it is on "that" side of the Atlantic), working at a European facility, that mucked up a perfectly good Internet with this "web" thingie, all of the non-maintenance traffic other than mail, telnet, and ftp should be billed to the EU, plus a royalty for Al Gore, since he invented the entire thing.

  • Isn't this just a trick so that they can later collude and increase the service charges across the board? Get publicity of their faux-plight and then go - "See, we tried to give you guys cheap internet but.."

    Or maybe they're just testing the waters to see what they can get away with w.r.t. setting precedents. On a related note, this a systemic problem with overzealous capitalism. Every quarter the profits and revenues must go up - more, more, more. After a while, when you can't really drive them up any more

  • I've noticed that whenever I watch a video on youtube that google use some my MY bandwidth too to send it to me! They seem to think they can just do this without paying me a penny for it! How dare they! :)
  • The ISPs have it all backwards, presumably with full knowledge of the real problem. The customer pays for a connection to the internet. The customer then uses it to access popular services, like Youtube or Facebook or any other of this months fad.

    Many ISP has vastly oversold their capacity to their customers and engaged in price fights that has made internet access well below what they should cost. They know its going to be a cold day in hell before the customers agree on a big price hike this late in the game so they try to wring money out of the popular services the customers use their bandwidth on.

    Since the ISPs sell access to the internet they have nothing, absolutely nothing they can demand from services on the internet. They made this mess by charging to little for all to much bandwidth, well, sucks to be wrong dont it?

  • Easily solved.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mubes (115026) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @05:55AM (#31829078) Homepage

    ....any ISP that thinks Google isn't playing fair should just not allow connections to the Google Empire for their customers.

    Then we'll see how long it takes for the free-market to self correct. I give it about 30 days, most of that time being required for the ISP to staff up their disconnections department.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      Then we'll see how long it takes for the free-market to self correct.

      It could take longer than you think. All those ISPs mentioned in the article are in fact big nationwide network providers (owners of the WAN cables and infrastructure), with near-monopoly on the pipes. Most smaller ISPs are actually subcontractors to those big ones. If those 800lb gorillas decided to depeer Google, it would immediately affect most other ISPs too.

  • 'dumb pipes' (Score:2, Insightful)

    by affenhund (1371117)
    That's what they should be, they are ISPs...
  • Youtube can live longer without these ISPs than the ISPs can live without youtube. If users can't access youtube, they'll happily switch ISP to get at it.
  • They're right that someone's getting a free ride - only it isn't google.

    My telecoms provider sold me my contract for a connection to the internet on the basis of the ability to:

    -Download Music
    -Download Films
    -Watch TV & Videos online
    -Play Games online
    -Email, chat and web

    How much are they paying Google et al for that?

  • by Stuntmonkey (557875) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:33AM (#31829304)

    Duh. STFU and just stop peering with them if you don't want the traffic. Of course then your customers won't get anything back when they request pages from Google. Good luck with that. Maybe they'll feel better when you pass along all your network cost savings to them. Right.

    Bullshit PR aside, the facts are plain: Your continuing to peer with Google is proof you believe you derive positive economic value by serving Google's content. Given this reality, maybe now you can explain carefully why Google owes you something?

    And when you're done answering that question, how about this one: Why is it that with TV distribution it's the cable providers paying the content providers, not vice versa as you'd propose Google do? Why shouldn't you be owing them money, for turning your dumb pipes into something people will pay $50 a month for?

    This is journalism? Does the Financial Times just run press releases now?

  • I'm sorry! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bazorg (911295) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:34AM (#31829308) Homepage
    It's all my fault. My apologies to the ISPs. When I worked at Customer Service for one in the days of dial up, clients would ask whether visiting web sites abroad would add extra cost to their phone bill. I told them that no, all internet traffic is the same, you only pay to get to the ISP, the rest of the way is covered by the ISP.

    Now it seems that my innocent advice ruined everything... I'm sorry.

  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @12:40PM (#31833924) Journal

    "How dare you provide the interesting, high-bandwidth content that help us sell our high-priced internet connections! We want a piece of that action!"

    Yes, ISPs, it's time to demand your rights! And the movement is growing:

    • Electric companies are suing air conditioning manufacturers for creating demand for electricity. "Our power plants can't keep up with these cooling freeloaders," they complain.
    • Beer companies are suing bars for creating demand for beer. "If you didn't push beer so hard, our drivers wouldn't have to make so many trips," they say.

    Justice will roll like a mighty tide!

  • Dumb pipes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @02:36PM (#31836330) Homepage

    If the ISPs don't want to be just dumb pipes, they will have to meet the requirements. Firstly, they must stop being dumb. As long as they are dumb, they won't advance. To not be just a pipe, they'll have to build something else their customers will want more than they want google. I suggest they get busy hiring the world's best and brightest for premium salaries and start building various internet based services that their customers actually want enough to willingly forgo access to google.

    If they are dumb and all they have built is a pipe, they shouldn't be surprised that they are considered to be a dumb pipe.

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

Working...