European carriers ask Big Tech to finance the construction of networks • The Register

The European Association of Telecommunications Network Operators (ETNO) has once again called on large tech companies – and video streamers in particular – to pay their share of Internet infrastructure.

A statement signed Monday by 16 telecom leaders across the continent calls on the European Commission to adopt policies that prioritize the sustainability of the planet and the telecom industry.

The paper argues that the two sustainability goals are intertwined because better digital infrastructure will reduce the pressure on physical resources.

But CEOs believe they are being asked to do all the heavy lifting to finance and build that infrastructure, and with 5G builds underway and metaverses just around the corner, they argue that it’s not fair to be asked to pay for it alone. .

“We believe that major traffic generators should make a fair contribution to the huge costs they currently impose on European networks,” says the document.

“Furthermore, a fair contribution would send a clear financial signal to streamers in relation to the data growth associated with their use of scarce network resources,” the paper says. CEOs also suggest paying streamers could “benefit tech companies, who rely more on massive network upgrades, as we move towards an era of open, connectivity-enabled metaverses.”

ETNO issued a very similar letter in November 2021 when it made “Big Tech Platforms” the bad guy.

In the months since the GSM Association has expressed itself with similar opinion and data stating that Alphabet, Meta, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft together account for 57% of all network traffic and 57% of global profits earned in the “Internet Value Chains”.

The GSM Association points out that Big Tech also enjoys very high profit margins, while carriers are burdened with disproportionate capital expenditures and operate at much lower margins.

Big Tech invests in networks but focuses on infrastructures that guarantee the efficiency of its services. Carriers are left to build the networks that funnel traffic to Big Tech, even if that strains their finances.

The statement should be well received by the European Commission, which has already supported a Green Digital Coalition to promote the environmental sustainability benefits that can come from digital technology. The Commission has also rarely been shy about giving Big Tech a kick on the competition issues and may relish the opportunity to have another crack on the infrastructure cost issue.

The letter was signed by the CEOs of Swisscom, Telekom Austria Group, United Group, Bouygues Telecom, Proximus Group, Telenor Group, Fastweb, Altice Portugal, Orange Group, Deutsche Telekom, BT Group, Telia, TIM Group, Telefónica, Vodafone Group and the president of the Dutch carrier KPN. ®