Breko press statement on large tech companies' contribution to the roll-out costs of digital infrastructures in Europe
The German Broadband Association (BREKO) comments on the Joint Statement published today by the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), GSMA Europe, AOMR, APMS, AssoTelecomunicazioni, ATI, DigitalES, and Fédération Française des Télécoms, to make large tech companies contribute to the rollout costs of digital infrastructures in Europe:
“We welcome the signatory associations’ commitment to actively support the goals of the ‘EU Digital Decade‘ and the ‘EU Green Deal‘. BREKO and its more than 430 member companies are also constantly pushing the rollout of future-proof fibre networks, which are the foundation of a sustainable digital transformation.
In principle, we also support the Joint Statement’s helpful contribution to the debate on how to make all stakeholders fairly contribute to the development and operation of high-performance digital infrastructures in Europe. After all, high-performance European fibre networks, which are also the basis for current and future 5G applications, are a key factor for successfully enabling the content heavy services of large tech companies such as Meta, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.
In Europe, and especially in Germany, alternative network operators are responsible for the lion share of the FttB/H rollout, for example in Germany approximately 75 percent*. From BREKO's point of view, it is therefore crucial that this debate takes place in a public and transparent manner by involving all network operators and fibre-deploying companies. For this reason, BREKO advocates for a public consultation – similar to the recently published open letter to the European Commission by a group of MEPs.
In our opinion, any potential new framework to share the costs of fibre deployment in Europe with OTT platforms would have to fulfil three fundamental principles:
Any potential distortions of competition in the telecommunications market must be avoided. In order to do so, a public consultation should lead to the development of a transparent cost-sharing mechanism, which benefits all network operators, regardless of their size.
Furthermore, any new instrument to facilitate the fair allocation of costs to service providers generating the most data traffic would have to fully respect the European Open Internet principles.
Finally, in order for such a measure to actually contribute to the goal of strengthening Europe’s digital infrastructures, additional financial resources would have to be earmarked for FttB/H rollout. Safeguards would be needed to ensure that only companies investing in the fibre rollout receive these funds, and that they do not jeopardise today’s positive investment climate and market dynamics. As such, fibre is fundamental to both fixed network internet use, where most of the traffic growth occurs, and to mobile connections like modern 5G networks.
BREKO will continue to engage in this important debate and advocate for a balanced solution that includes alternative network operators and meets the aforementioned three criteria.”
* Source: BREKO Broadband Study 2021
As the leading fibre association with more than 430 member companies, Bundesverband Breitbandkommunikation e.V. (German Broadband Association, BREKO) successfully promotes competition in the broadband market. Its members are committed to future-proof fibre and currently implement 80 percent of alternative network operators’ fibre connections to buildings and homes. The more than 230 telecommunications network operators organised in the association supply both urban and rural areas with future-proof fibre connections. In 2020 they invested a total of € 2.9 billion, generating a turnover of € 5 billion. More information at brekoverband.de/en.