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Deutsche Telekom: Google, Netflix, Amazon and Co. should pay for the networks

Deutsche Telekom: Google, Netflix, Amazon and Co. should pay for the networks
Image: Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom is once again demanding that major internet services Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have to pay for the use of the networks. These would cause the lion’s share of data traffic. The arguments are now supported by two studies.

From a “fair cost sharingAccording to a blog post from Telekom, both the digital economy and climate protection would benefit from the functioning and expansion of networks in Europe. In the “full swing“Now is the debate on the“ fair sharing of costs ”. What is meant by this are lobbying attempts that have been going on for years. In December alone, the presidents of 13 European telecommunications groups issued a statement that major Internet services should be involved in expanding the network.

The argument is always: while network operators finance networks, Internet services monetize the data traffic flowing over the networks. And telecommunications companies would have no chance to participate appropriately. Therefore, the rules at EU level should be adequate.

Tech companies generate most of the traffic

The claims in the blog post are now reinforced with two studies. A study prepared by Frontier Economics for Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone concludes that traffic-related network costs across Europe amount to between 36 and 40 billion euros per year. The values ​​differ depending on the country, but on average they would range between 40 and 47 euros per customer in the fixed network and between 43 and 46 euros in mobile communications.

As noted: this sum only concerns data traffic, costs for other aspects such as network expansion or other operating costs are unfortunately not included. Based on this study, it is therefore not possible to determine how high the share of data traffic in total costs is.

According to Telekom, another Axon study also shows that Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft account for half of the data traffic. They would benefit particularly from an economic point of view. “The market capitalization of these six companies is 30 times that of the eight largest European telecommunications companies combinedIn addition, the groups could see significant sales growth, while the sales of European telecommunications companies have even declined by 7% since 2015.

Billions for European network operators

In view of the high costs of expanding the network and the decline in sales, Telekom is therefore requesting the participation of the technology companies. Axnon calculates scenarios in which European network operators would receive ten, 20 or 30 billion euros per year. According to this calculation, something like this would not only be profitable for network operators. In this way, the expansion of optical fiber could be accelerated and the digital economy would also benefit, creating new jobs. Likewise, CO2 emissions could be achieved through the transition to a more climate-friendly operation of data centers.

The extent to which the demands of network operators are justified has been debated for years. Critics regularly note that streaming platforms and data-intensive services are the main reasons for choosing a fast and therefore expensive data plan. Without the internet services of technology companies, the offers of network operators would also be much less attractive.

Furthermore, such Internet service fee payments are difficult to reconcile with net neutrality. If some companies pay for network access, this could lead to a two-tier network.

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