Advanced Television

Euro telcos call for Big Tech network cash

September 27, 2022

By Colin Mann

The CEOs of 16 European telcos have issued statement calling for the largest traffic generators to make a fair contribution to the “sizeable” costs they currently impose on European networks.

Noting the role of connectivity in addressing current EU challenges, they say they are writing with a sense of urgency, as the European Commission looks at the priorities for the last, and important, part of its five-year mandate. “In an age of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges, convergent and timely collaboration between public and private actors is essential, especially on crucial digital matters: alone, no company, NGO or institution can offer effective solutions to today’s complex problems,” they state.

“Our companies have shown, and will continue to show, determination in advancing Europe’s new connectivity goals (i.e., full coverage of Very High Capacity Networks such as fibre and 5G, by 2030),” they assert.” Achieving these goals requires growing efforts from our sector, which currently invests around €50bn/year in Europe, but must be enabled to do more and faster, if it is to achieve the goals in a timely fashion. This is even more relevant as, in challenging times, digital tools become a lifeline to create socio-economic opportunity,” they suggest.

“Today’s energy crisis – along with post-Pandemic shocks to markets and supply chains – is having profound negative impacts on our customers. In addition, we expect it to generate significant frictions on our path to achieve Europe’s connectivity goals,” they warn. “Costs of planning and construction works are increasing. Prices for fibre optic cables, for example, have almost doubled in the first semester 2022 . Similarly, the hikes in energy prices and in the prices of other inputs are also hitting the connectivity sector. In this context, the issue of ensuring a sustainable ecosystem for the Internet and connectivity is more urgent than ever,” they declare.

According to the telcos. a sustainable, thriving Internet ecosystem is in the interest of all European citizens and it relies on the achievement of the EU goals. “Timely action is a must: Europe missed out on many of the opportunities offered by the consumer Internet. It must now swiftly build strength for the age of the metaverses,” they contend.

“For this to happen, and to be sustainable over time, we believe that the largest traffic generators should make a fair contribution to the sizeable costs they currently impose on European networks. We must ensure that Europe does not suffer from scarcity of digital infrastructure,” they say.

“A fair contribution would benefit first and foremost consumers, as it would help enable faster and more inclusive roll-out, bringing more coverage, resilience and quality. It would also benefit SMEs, who recently voiced the need for tech companies to “adequately contribute” to roll-out: 5G and fibre are key to SMEs’ competitiveness. In addition, a fair contribution would send a clear financial signal for streamers in relation to the data growth associated with their use of scarce network resources. This could generate significant energy savings and help achieve net zero, both of which are so important at this time. Finally, we expect it also to benefit tech companies, who rely the most on massive network upgrades, as we move to an age of open and connectivity-enabled metaverses,” they suggest.

“This is why we strongly welcome the statements by EVP Vestager and the consultation announced by Commissioner Thierry Breton. It will lay the ground for a solid legislative initiative that effectively addresses the matter. We support a timely calendar that allows Europe to deliver by the end of the current Commission mandate. In addition, we are respectful and fully supportive of the need to uphold the EU Open Internet principles: consumers must continue to enjoy all lawful content and applications available on the Internet,” they state.

“Inclusive roll-out requires the full telecom sector to stay mobilised. For this reason, we believe that the fair contribution should be addressed to all telecom providers who are committed to achieving the EU digital goals – no matter whether they are small or big, traditional or alternative,” they confirm.

“We stand ready to continue supporting EU institutions as they work to create the conditions for delivering a successful green and digital transition, enabled by timely policy action” they conclude.


Christoph Aeschlimann, CEO, Swisscom

Thomas Arnoldner, CEO, A1 Telekom Austria Group

Victoriya Boklag, CEO, United Group

Edward Bouygues, Chairman, Bouygues Telecom

Guillaume Boutin, CEO, Proximus Group

Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group

Alberto Calcagno, CEO, Fastweb

Joost Farwerck, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management, KPN

Ana Figueiredo, CEO, Altice Portugal

Christel Heydemann, CEO, Orange Group

Timotheus Höttges, CEO, Deutsche Telekom

Philip Jansen, CEO, BT Group

Allison Kirkby, President and CEO, Telia Company

Pietro Labriola, CEO, TIM Group

José María Alvarez Pallete, Chairman and CEO, Telefónica

Nick Read, CEO, Vodafone Group

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