Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have backed calls for large traffic generators – also known as content application providers or ‘over-the-tops’ – to contribute towards the costs of network upgrades in Europe.
Europe urgently needs a connectivity upgrade to remain competitive on a global scale, and to ensure its citizens and businesses can continue benefiting from the latest in digital services and innovation.
The European Commission estimates that a funding gap of around €174bn stands in the way of Europe achieving its digital connectivity goals for 2030. These include targets to provide all homes with access to gigabit connectivity, and all populated areas with 5G coverage. Neither can be achieved without more investment in network infrastructure.
In a vote on Tuesday (13 June), the European Parliament voted in favour of the ‘Competition Policy Report’ (428 votes in favour, 147 against and 55 abstentions), which calls for a new policy framework where large traffic generators contribute fairly to the adequate funding of telecom networks, without prejudice to net neutrality (the principles of an open internet). This is a positive step for the future of connectivity in Europe.
A shared responsibility
Telecoms operators in Europe have collectively invested around €500bn to upgrade mobile and fixed networks over the last 10 years. But more is required, and we cannot continue shouldering the costs alone.
The European Commission recognised the need for the new approach with its public consultation on the future of the sector, and it’s positive to see this view reflected in the vote by MEPs.
Vodafone supports the calls for a ‘fair share’ solution to how we fund network upgrades in Europe. All players in Europe’s digital ecosystem – including telecoms operators, large traffic originators, and governments – have a shared responsibility to find a solution that benefits all Europeans, and ensure they continue to have access to the digital opportunities they deserve.
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