Several European telecommunications companies have joined forces to call on the European Union (EU) to revamp the regulatory framework for the industry. In an open letter published on Monday, the CEOs of 20 major telecom companies emphasized the need for big technology firms to contribute more towards the costs of network infrastructure.
The letter, signed by industry leaders such as Timotheus Hoettges of Deutsche Telekom and Christel Heydemann of Orange, highlighted that the current state of the European telecom sector is not strong enough to meet the substantial investment demands estimated at a minimum of €174 billion ($183.96 billion) by 2030. Many operators are barely covering their cost of capital, making it essential for tech giants to ensure a fair contribution to network development.
The CEOs expressed concern that big tech companies pay very little for data transport in existing networks, leaving them far from covering the expenses required to expand networks and meet the ambitious EU targets. They urged EU policymakers to address this issue and ensure that tech firms take on a more proportionate share of the financial burden.
The European Commission, which recently initiated a consultation on the future of the telecom sector, has yet to comment on the letter's demands. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the internal market, has previously questioned the fair allocation of funding for infrastructure development, given that content and application providers have benefited greatly from connectivity networks.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association Europe, a trade group representing tech companies, has not responded to requests for comments on the matter. The association has previously argued against network-usage fees, claiming they lack justification and would harm consumers.