Digital giants face EU networks scrutiny

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager confirmed work is underway to assess whether tech giants responsible for generating huge amounts of data traffic should make a fair contribution to telecoms networks. Similar concerns are being voiced in other regions. In South Korea, for example, SK Broadband is in a legal dispute with Netflix, as it is arguing that Netflix must contribute a reasonable amount to network maintenance because of a surge in data traffic.

Meta, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix account for over 55% of traffic on mobile and fixed broadband networks, according to research commissioned by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association and conducted by consultancy firm Axon. The research noted this traffic costs European telecoms companies €15–28 billion each year, impairing their ability to accelerate 5G and fibre rollouts. Despite some early commercial 5G launches in Europe, in terms of 5G build-out and adoption, China, South Korea and the US are proving to be the frontrunners.

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