- Working groups
The report “Europe’s internet ecosystem: socio-economic benefits of a fairer balance between tech giants and telecom operators”, was prepared by international consulting firm Axon Partners Group Consulting for leading telecom association ETNO.
This page looks at frequently asked questions and provides answers to them.
Why should tech giants pay, if users are already paying a bill to operators?
Users pay to access the full and unrestricted Open Internet: this should not change. Instead, tech giants develop sophisticated business models on top of networks, generate disproportionate amounts of traffic, but they mostly rely on the network investment made by telecom companies for the Open Internet. Their market position should not allow them to avoid commercial negotiations. We should avoid a “tragedy of the commons” situation.
Are you implying that telecom companies cannot handle the current network traffic?
No. Telecom operators have successfully handled data traffic, including in periods of crisis. However, the ever increasing traffic on both mobile and fixed networks requires continued and increasing investment over time. This was clear also during the pandemic, when a sudden shift from office to remote work required major streaming platforms to step in and handle their traffic to avoid network saturation/degradation, unveiling the reliance of their business models on networks built through telecom investment.
Are operators asking €20bn/year from tech giants?
No. The Axon Report, as well as the Frontier Economics figures mentioned in it, only estimate the network costs (incremental/total) that can be attributed to the business of tech giants. €20bn is an illustrative number that shows how recovering network costs would translate in positive socio-economic benefits for Europe. We propose that the “fair share” that tech giants should contribute is something to be discussed in an open debate, together with regulators, policymakers as well as all stakeholders.
Are you asking that Europe departs from the Open Internet principles?
No. We suggest regulatory action to tackle imbalances in Internet traffic markets. Such action should happen within the framework of Europe’s Open Internet principles, while ensuring that all consumers continue to benefit from the full extent of ever-evolving network access and quality.