Big Tech Should Pay Broadband Providers, Not Governments

Prominent regulators in the European Union and US contend that Big Tech is not paying enough for using broadband networks. Their preferred remedy is for governments to collect money from Big Tech and then disperse it to broadband providers, presumably to subsidize serving the poor and high-cost rural areas. This is an idea whose time should never come.

The first person of note to argue Big Tech isn’t paying enough was Ed Whitacre in 2005. The then CEO of Southwestern Bell, and eventually AT&T, said that Google, Microsoft, and Vonage “use my lines for free—and that’s bull. For a Google or a Yahoo! or a Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes for free is nuts!” This triggered a firestorm, including claims that he wanted “to destroy the free internet.” His statement fueled support for net neutrality, which at the time meant that all internet traffic should be processed and charged the same, regardless of its value and technical needs.

Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.