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European lobby group wants to tax US-based Internet companies

A lobby group representing 35 European telecommunications companies wants to charge US-based Internet giants like Facebook, Google and Netflix a bandwidth fee.

The Brussels-based European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) submitted a proposal to the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency, calling for a usage-based tax to be levied against popular sites and providers servicing non-US customers.

The leaked documents add context to long-running complaints from European telecom corporations about American content providers consuming global bandwidth for free. The "principle of sending party network pays" being suggested by ETNO refers to a system wherein content providers would have to pay a per-minute price, as determined by the user's network provider, to reach non-US customers.

Though it's unclear how seriously the proposal is being considered - the UN has previously contemplated, but not adopted, various forms of Internet taxation - it is nonetheless a controversial prospect.

Some experts have expressed fears that, while it could prove to be a boon for governments looking for additional forms of revenue, a tax of this nature could serve to isolate people around the globe.

Source: CNet