internet lab | Podcast Season: 1 - Episode: 13 / Release date: 19-1-2023

1:1 with Brian Williamson
Communications Chambers

Key Quotes

"Users accessing more content and applications online has been a key driver for telcos investing in and monetizing broadband access."
1 / 12
"Demand is a good thing for a business. If you listen to what telcos say to investors, as opposed to policy makers[:] (...) [telcos] say increased demand is good for us, not bad."
2 / 12
"[Network fees] would be discriminatory and go against the principle of net neutrality, because it would apply to some and not others."
3 / 12
"[Network fees] would discourage the development and use of content and applications[:] the impact of that won't be limited to Big Tech."
4 / 12
"[European] broadcasters [are] in a transition to delivery via online rather than terrestrial broadcasting. They would be in effect taxed because they use cloud computing to do those services."
5 / 12
"A policy agenda of decarbonisation depends on moving from shifting atoms around to virtualisation of services, and that would be discouraged."
6 / 12
"[An Internet traffic tax] runs contrary to essentially all of Europe's digital transformation vision."
7 / 12
"There are entrants funded by long term infrastructure funds[:] I don't think they've been calling for an Internet traffic tax, (...) they wouldn't be a beneficiary, but (...) it would harm their business case."
8 / 12
"An Internet traffic tax would make the ecosystem smaller[:] (...) if you tax something, expect less of it."
9 / 12
"This debate [on network fees] has been framed at times in terms of fairness, I don't see anything fair about diminishing the Internet ecosystem."
10 / 12
"[Network fees:] it's a bad idea. It was rejected a decade ago, and it should be rejected now."
11 / 12
"I just don't see anything on the benefit side of the ledger, and I can see a lot of costs involved in this proposition [of network fees]."
12 / 12

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About Our Guest

Brian Williamson | Partner - Communications Chambers
Brian Williamson has worked in government at the New Zealand Treasury and is now a London based consultant. His clients include governments, regulators, telcos, and tech companies. As a consultant, Brian works at the intersection of the ‘digital economy’ and policy. This includes looking at the respective and complementary contributions of connectivity and applications to enhance economic and social outcomes. He recently published a study on the proposed ‘Internet traffic tax’ for the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA).