We are delighted to invite you to an event which will be held on Tuesday, 31st of May at 17.00.
The event will consist of a late-afternoon discussion on whether large digital content platforms should be charged for the usage of telecommunication networks with our distinguished speakers:
- Ms Rita Wezenbeek, Director, Connectivity, European Commission, DG CNECT;
- Mr Ramon Fernandez, deputy CEO, Orange;
- Mr Thomas Volmer, Director, Head of Global Content Delivery Policy, Netflix;
- Mr Nicolas Cote-Colisson, Global Head of Communications, Equity Research, HSBC.
The event will be moderated by Matthew Newman, Chief Correspondent, MLex.
This event will be held online.
This is a public event, hence the Chatham House Rule will not apply.
This event is co-organised with
About the debate
The EU has proposed ambitious objectives in terms of connectivity with the targets enshrined in the Europe’s Digital Decade initiative: gigabit connectivity and 5G for all by 2030, amongst others. Meanwhile, European telecom operators have scaled up their efforts in order to upgrade their respective networks and have already invested 500bn euro over the past 10 years. Delivering fibre and 5G connectivity service is essential for Europe to provide for state of the art services to citizens, public authorities and businesses and to ensure a swift finalisation of the digital and green transitions, which also need to be accelerated in light of the current geopolitical context.
Lately, telecom operators in Europe have been faced with a colossal increase in data traffic which has reached up to 50% on an annual basis. This forms the basis for critical questions in terms of investment, capacity and resilience of networks. In addition, as also highlighted by a recent study made by Kearney for GSMA, it has emerged that video streaming, gaming and social media from a handful of large global platforms have accounted for over 55% of the overall traffic running over EU-wide networks.
Against this background, Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, who is notably setting the strategic direction of the European Commission’s priority Europe Fit for the Digital Age, stated: “I think 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”, while adding that “because we see that there are players who generate a lot of traffic that then enables their business but who have not been contributing actually to enable that traffic”.
On the 2nd of May, two studies were released on this issue: a Frontier Economics report that gives an estimation of the Over The Top (OTT) internet services traffic costs they generate on operators’ networks and a study published recently by Axon and commissioned by ETNO. The latter indicates that if the current state of play continues, several of the European Commission’s Digital Decade connectivity targets could be hampered.
More recently, the EU Commissioner in charge of the EU internal market, Thierry Breton, announced in an interview that the Commission has been working on an initiative on these matters, and that a new policy initiative will be presented before the end of the current year.
As it stands, there are several matters that remain to be further assessed and debated including on the cause of the issue, the type of initiative the European Commission is intending to put forward and which policy approach it aims to adopt, as well as how to define the notion of fair contribution.
The event will commence at 17.00 and it will last around an hour and a half.
The audience will be able to ask questions during both the discussion and the Q&A session through sli.do #TelcosNetwork