The United Nations is considering a proposal that could significantly impact some of the world’s largest online content providers. According to some leaked documents, which are being made available at WCITleaks.org, the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) is lobbying the U.N. to amend an existing treaty, the International Telecommunications Regulations, that would put a global Internet tax on companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.
As author and technology consultant Larry Downes explained to WebProNews, if this proposal were to be adopted, it would dramatically change the unmetered “peered” design of the Internet that has been successful for so long. If this system were to change, it would tax content providers to reach non-U.S. Internet users, which could hit many U.S.-based companies hard.
Downes told us that the current system that the Internet is based on is a “remarkable example” of the multi-stakeholder process and, therefore, does not need to be changed. The reason, however, that ETNO is so adamant on pushing such a proposal through is that most of these content providers are located in the U.S., which means the Europeans aren’t getting any revenue.
As he explained, this proposal is very worrisome to not only U.S.-based companies, but also to the future of the Internet. Fortunately, the U.S. is aware of the concerns and has indicated its opposition to them.
At this point, this proposal and potentially others are expected to be debated at the World Conference on International Telecommunications in December.