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Germans want to charge Google

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The boss of Deutsche Telekom is the latest to claim that companies like Google, which take advantage of high-speed networks, should help pay for them.

DT CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke said: "Customers should not be the only ones to pay for this new world. Web companies that use this infrastructure for their business should also make a contribution."

Speaking to German news weekly WirtschaftsWoche, Ricke said: "If customers aren't willing to pay and Google and [others] aren't willing to pay, there won't be any high-speed data highways," IDG reports.

He said companies like Google have been enjoying a free lunch. Ricke is not a lone voice - US telcos AT&T and Verizon have made similar noises.

Ricke seems to be talking about offering a guaranteed service to companies with very bandwidth-heavy applications, like streaming video rather than just charging any company providing content. A DT spokesman said the company was in the early stages of debating how to pay for new high-speed networks: "Nothing is going to be decided overnight, but we need to come up with a way to share the costs of these huge investments."

Vint Cerf is one of many voices warning that "net neutrality" should be protected by law and that any two tier system where companies pay for preferential access to consumers would stifle innovation. ®

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