Internet traffic: the voracity of the Internet giants is costing telecom operators dearly

While the European Union is finally mobilizing to regulate the American giants of the Net, the telecom operators hope that Brussels will hear their recriminations. They have been fighting against the Gafa for years. They regret that these behemoths do not pay a cent for their 4G, 5G or fiber optic networks when they are the biggest users. A study carried out by the consulting firm Axon, on behalf of the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), the lobby of European operators, lifts the veil on this reality.

According to these works, relayed speak FinancialTimes, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft account for 55% of overall internet traffic on their networks. The Axon study emphasizes, above all, that this is not without consequences for the telecom sector: it would cost it, each year, between 15 and 28 billion euros.

In the view of ETNO, this situation is unacceptable. The lobby is calling on the EU to move major platforms to checkout. According to the operators, if some of these behemoths handed over 20 billion euros per year to the operators, this would create some 840,000 new jobs by 2025, and significantly reduce the sector’s energy consumption.

Operators want “a contribution” from Gafa

“We want to initiate an open dialogue with policymakers, consumers and technology companies on how to address specific imbalances in internet traffic markets”said Lise Fuhr, the director general of ETNO, according to the FinancialTimes.

Still according to the economic daily, the association is based in particular on a declaration by the European Commission concerning digital technology. This specifies that “all market players who benefit from the digital transformation must make a fair and proportionate contribution to the costs of digital goods, services and infrastructure”.

This is not the first time that telecom operators have criticized the massive use of their pipes by Gafa. Last November, the CEOs of Orange, Proximus, Altice Portugal, Deutsche Telekom, BT and Vodafone signed a platform, under the aegis of ETNO, to demand more fairness vis-à-vis the American giants of the Net.

“A large and growing portion of network traffic is generated and monetized by large technology platforms”what “requires continuous and intensive investments in the network”, underlined the operators. Gold ” this model “ can not be ” sustainable “they insisted, “only if these large technology platforms also contribute fairly to the costs of the network”.

This new rant from ETNO comes at a time when all major European operators are suffering on the stock market. They are now the subject of a sling of investors. They rail, rightly, against their enormous investments in the networks, in a fierce competitive context and encouraged for years by Brussels.

Before handing over the reins of Orange to Christel Heydemann last month, Stéphane Richard was particularly critical of the European Union, which, according to him, has a great responsibility in this situation.

“You know, me, in eleven years [en tant que PDG d’Orange, Ndlr], I lost a number of illusions about what we could expect from Europe, he said at the end of December, during a conference in Paris. I’m sorry, but when it comes to regulation, concentration – and I’m well placed to know this – there is unfortunately an extraordinary inertia in the system. »

According to the former manager, Brussels has given far too much freedom to Gafa, which, thanks to the networks of operators, have transformed the continent into “digital colony”. “I always remember this sentence from Eric Schmidt, ex-president of Google: ‘You made the investments, I made the profits’ [‘Vous avez fait les investissements, j’ai engrangé les profits’, Ndlr]recalled the former boss of Orange. That’s so much… And what did we do to go a bit the opposite of this logic? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. » Will this trend reverse? It is an understatement to say that the operators are waiting for Brussels at the turn.