Dutch Minister Adriaansens: Internet toll will ultimately penalize consumers

Large European telecom operators are considering to charge an Internet toll for the internet traffic that online service providers, such as video streaming services, send to subscribers. Recently the European Commission has announced a consultation on plans to allow this. Ultimately these costs will likely be passed on to consumers within the EU. The Government of the Netherlands is concerned about these plans as such an Internet toll implies that large telecom operators want to get paid twice.

Together with other member states, the Netherlands has expressed concerns about the argumentations for these plans in the past. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands will therefore contribute to the consultation with a commissioned research which concludes that an Internet toll doesn’t give a sufficient boost to extra network investments as well. Today, Minister Micky Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands, has published both a paper and a commissioned research on this matter. 

The Netherlands has always argued against an Internet toll and has played a leading role in designing EU legislation that prohibits telecom providers from blocking, slowing down or charging separately for internet traffic. Net neutrality is regulated within the EU Open Internet Regulation from 2015.

“Telecom operators want to get paid twice with an extra EU Internet toll. A consumer chooses whether or not to subscribe to streaming and video services like Netflix, Spotify, Viaplay or YouTube. Moreover they pay subscription costs to the telecom provider for this as well. Consumers are likely expected to pay more for streaming services, because these companies will pass on extra costs, in whole or in part, to their customers. In addition we believe that an Internet toll might not be compatible with net neutrality,” states Minister Adriaansens about the Dutch concerns.

The minister continues: “The Netherlands has also commissioned economists to investigate whether this proposed Internet toll will actually boost new or additional network investments. That doesn't seem to be the case. All things considered, the Netherlands argues that this is not the right way to realize the EU Digital ambitions. It’s imperative that any policy affecting the Internet ecosystem is evidence-based and is putting the consumer first.”