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Phone companies say Big Tech should support infrastructure

by on29 November 2021

Net neutrality issue European style

In a move which would be familiar to net neutrality campaigners in the US, European telecom’s networks are saying that the US tech giants should bear some of the costs of developing Europe's telecoms networks because they use them so heavily.

Chief executives of Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and 11 other major European telecoms companies issued a joint statement. Their argument is that they are facing massive investments for 5G, fibre and cable networks to cope with data and cloud services provided by Netflix and Google's YouTube and Facebook (FB.O).

Investments in Europe's telco sector rose to 52.5 billion euro last year, a six-year high.

"A large and increasing part of network traffic is generated and monetided by Big Tech platforms, but it requires continuous, intensive network investment and planning by the telecommunications sector", the CEOs said in a joint statement.

"This model – which enables EU citizens to enjoy the fruits of the digital transformation – can only be sustainable if such big tech platforms also contribute fairly to network costs", they said.

The arguments are remarkably like those touted by US comms companies during the net neutrality arguments in the US. The issue is that if Big Tech are forced to pay more, they will just pass their charges onto users.

The CEOs criticised high spectrum prices and auctions, used by EU governments as cash cows, saying that these artificially force unsustainable entrants into the market.

EU lawmakers' attempts to scrap surcharges on intra-EU calls also got short shrift from the CEOs who see this sector as a source of revenue from business users.

"We estimate that they would forcibly remove over two billion euro revenues from the sector in a four year period, which is equivalent to 2.5 percent of the sector's yearly investment capacity for mobile infrastructure", the companies said.


Last modified on 29 November 2021
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