Telecom operators call on streaming services to help fund network infrastructure costs

Following research that suggests data traffic is growing by 50% every year, global telecom firms have called upon large streaming services to contribute towards the upgrading and maintaining of Europe’s network infrastructure, describing the current situation as unsustainable.

The research, conducted by Sandvine, also suggests that 70% of the rising data traffic is made up of video streaming, gaming and social media.

Telecom operators, Vodafone, Telefónica, Deutsche Telecom, and Orange have released a joint statement to large content platforms explaining that the “current situation is simply not sustainable”.

Part of the statement reads:

“Telecom operators have invested massively to upgrade their network infrastructure and increase capacity and thanks to this, communications and the internet have continued during the Covid-19 crisis in Europe despite the surge in peak fixed and mobile traffic. Continued investment is fundamental to ensuring the unrestricted access and participation of citizens in our digital society.

“But the current situation is simply not sustainable. The investment burden must be shared in a more proportionate way. Digital platforms are profiting from hyper scaling business models at little cost while network operators shoulder the required investments in connectivity. At the same time our retail markets are in perpetual decline in terms of profitability.”

The statement goes on to warn that “Europe will fall behind other world regions” if the “unbalanced situation” isn’t fixed, meaning that customer experiences will be degraded.

Network operators also argued that they “are in no position to negotiate fair terms with these giant platforms due to their strong market positions, asymmetric bargaining power and the lack of a level regulatory playing field”, and as a result “cannot make a viable return on our very significant investments, putting further infrastructure development at risk”.

There have been no comments so far in regards to the statement from any of the unnamed streaming platforms.

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