Instead, ministers could look at imposing a charge for them to contribute to the infrastructure they use – namely broadband. Like the debate over the charges foreign lorries should pay for using British roads, tech companies could be charged a license fee for the internet.
The government builds the roads and then charges, through VED and fuel duty, for the use of the roads. There is indeed an excellent argument that foreigners should contribute to those charges.
Broadband: call me picky if you like but I\’m pretty sure that it is BT, Virgin, Sky, various cable companies and the like that provide the internet in the UK. I could be wrong of course but I\’m not aware that this is a government provided piece of infrastructure.
If any fee is to be paid for corporate access to that infrastructure then I see no reason at all why that fee should be paid to government.
Plus, of course, there are two basic viable models to pay for the internet. Charging those who place content on it or charging those who wish to have access to the content placed thereon. As it happens everywhere uses the second model. Consumers are already paying the charges to build and maintain the infrastructure. There isn\’t anything being not paid for.
There is one technical bit that perhas someone could clear up for me. Are the backbone providers charging Facebook some fee for the traffic that goes in and out of their data centres?