Europas Breitbandkampf

LONDON – Zu den vielen Herausforderungen, vor denen die neue Europäische Kommission steht, gehört die Entscheidung, wie man allen 500 Millionen Einwohnern der EU einen ultraschnellen Breitband-Internetzugriff gewährleistet, ohne die Steuern zu erhöhen oder Europas Telekommunikationsunternehmen in den Bankrott zu treiben. Diese Notwendigkeit hat viele veranlasst, größere Beiträge von Internetgiganten wie Google, Netflix und Facebook zu verlangen, die regelmäßig dafür kritisiert werden, dass sie nicht ihren gerechten Teil beitragen – und die sogar als „Trittbrettfahrer“ beschimpft werden, die die europäischen Vermögenswerte und Märkte ausplündern wollten. Ist diese Kritik gerechtfertigt?

Mit einem Wort: Nein. In Wahrheit steuern die großen Internetfirmen – von denen die meisten ihren Sitz in den USA haben – bereits Milliarden Dollar dazu bei, um die Netzwerke und großen Rechenzentren zu schaffen und zu warten, die für das Funktionieren des Internets unverzichtbar sind.

Tatsächlich haben diese Unternehmen in den letzten drei Jahren mehr als 75 Milliarden Euro unmittelbar in die Internetinfrastruktur investiert, wobei ihre Ausgaben während dieses Zeitraums jährlich um ca. 10% gestiegen sind. Zudem haben sie sich an Konsortien beteiligt, die mehr als 500 Millionen Euro in die Verlegung eines transpazifischen Untersee-Glasfaserkabels investiert haben, das seit 2010 in Betrieb ist, sowie eines 8300 km langen Kabels von Südostasien nach Japan, das im vergangenen Jahr den Betrieb aufgenommen hat.

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