HomeContent TypeEU digital chief says 'No' to consolidation,  'Yes' to Netflix subscription

    EU digital chief says ‘No’ to consolidation,  ‘Yes’ to Netflix subscription


    Urgent priority is blocked, long term pipedream gets lip service

    The big tech oligarchy including GoogleMeta and Netflix may be asked to pay their way onto Europe’s telecoms network, ‘in future’, EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager said at a conference on Monday. Vestager acknowledged complaints from mobile network operators that traffic from big tech operators isn’t just dominating the networks but they are freeloading onto an infrastructure that cost trillions of euros to construct and operate. However, arguments for a solution to a more immediate priority, the proposed need for market consolidation, got ‘short shrift’ according to Reuters.


    A study released by ETNO, the lobby group for the European Telecoms Network Operators, showed that Meta, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix accounted for at least 56% of all global data traffic last year. The study said an annual contribution of €20 billion ($21 billion) to network costs by the tech giants could give a €72 billion boost to the EU economy. ETNO’s members include Deutsche Telekom (DT), BT and Orange. “There is an issue that we need to consider with a lot of focus, and that is the issue of fair contribution to telecommunication networks,” said Vestager.

    Big tech, no taxes

    Vestager acknowledged that some big tech players have to generate big traffic to enable their business but they contribute nothing to enable that traffic. “They have not been contributing to enabling the investments in the rollout of connectivity and we are in the process of getting a thorough understanding of how could that be enabled,” said Vestager said. In addition, the EU is examining how how data traffic evolves over time and its relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Can’t ETNO satisfaction

    The calls for more industry legislation worked both ways, however, as Vestager seemed to dismiss the European telco’s pleas for a relaxation of EU merger rules over consolidation. For now, any hopes of cost savings through shared infrastructure have been suspended, until they can come up with a better set of proposals. “The problem is that the arguments that we hear, like the need for scale in order to invest, they are not new,” said Vestager.