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Russian authorities plan to charge a mandatory fee for the passage of Internet traffic


Russian authorities plan to charge a mandatory fee for the passage of Internet traffic

The initiative may affect both Russian online cinemas and foreign giants, including Google, YouTube and WhatsApp.

Payment for Internet services to telecom operators for the passage of “main” Internet traffic (large video streams, etc.) may become mandatory, informs Kommersant edition.

The initiative is indicated in the “Strategy for the Development of the Communications Industry in the Russian Federation for 2024-2035”. Mintsifra and telecom operators participated in its development. The authors of the strategy proposed to consolidate the obligation for Internet companies to conclude commercial agreements with telecom operators on its passage.

It is proposed to remove companies from the register of information dissemination organizers (ORI) from the regulatory requirement: VKontakte, Zen and Odnoklassniki, Yandex services, as well as Rutube video hosting.

According to the publication, there is no YouTube among the ORI; the only foreign video hosting in the registry is Vimeo. Online cinemas are also not in the registry, so they fall under the requirements.

The document states that the planned volume of traffic in Russia will increase by at least 25% per year. The authors of the initiative refer to international experience, in particular, to the decision of the district court in South Korea in 2019, according to which the Netflix online cinema must pay compensation to the operator SK Broadband for traffic transmission (Netflix disputes the decision).

Russian content providers already pay for the services of telecom operators “either directly or through commercial CDN operators,” market participants recalled.

As noted, the initiative can be aimed primarily at receiving royalties from foreign services: Google, including YouTube and the search engine, as well as the WhatsApp messenger.

Nevertheless, according to one of the sources in the IT market, it is unlikely that it will be possible to create a legislative mechanism in Russia that would allow receiving deductions from foreign companies.

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