European Telecom Companies Call on Tech Giants like Google and Netflix to Contribute to Network Development

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Major European telecommunications companies have appealed to the European Union to compel large technology firms such as Netflix and Google to make a fair contribution to the development of their networks. This call was made in an open letter signed by the CEOs of 20 companies, including BT, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefónica, which will be sent to the European Commission and members of the European Parliament. The initiative aims to support investments in the deployment of 5G networks and the transition to full-fledged optical networks.

According to the leaders of telecommunications companies, technology giants derive the greatest benefits from European telecommunications infrastructure and contribute to the increase in internet traffic, and therefore, they should actively finance its support and development. They also argue that future investments in telecommunications infrastructure are under pressure and emphasize the need for regulation to ensure these investments.

Signatories include Timotheus Höttges of Deutsche Telekom, Christel Heydemann of Orange, José María Álvarez-Pallete of Telefónica, and Pietro Labriola of Telecom Italia. They have proposed a mechanism that would only charge the largest internet traffic generators, with an emphasis on responsibility and transparency in contribution matters, so that operators invest directly in the EU’s digital infrastructure.

The “fair share” initiative has already gained support in Brussels, and the European Parliament expressed its intention in June to create conditions in which major traffic generators would fairly contribute to the financing of telecommunications networks without harming network neutrality. The European Commission estimates that an additional €200 billion may be needed for the deployment of 5G networks in all populated areas and full gigabit coverage across the EU by 2030.

According to the heads of European telecom companies, data volume increases by an average of 20-30% annually, primarily due to the activity of just a few major technology companies. However, they believe that such growth is unlikely to result in a corresponding return on investment under current conditions. Tech giants have previously expressed opposition to the “fair share” initiative, stating that they are already investing in internet infrastructure, including undersea cables and data centers.

The initiative of European telecommunications companies underscores the importance of sharing responsibility for infrastructure investments among all key players in the digital economy. It also highlights potential conflicts between traditional telecommunications companies and major technology firms, which may have long-term consequences for the EU’s competitiveness in the global digital space.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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