EU Network Fees Debate: Stratix Weighs in on the Economics of the Internet

EU Network Fees Debate: Stratix Weighs in on the Economics of the Internet

Our colleague Rudolf van der Berg is contributing to the Disruptive Competition (DisCo) project as a guest author with a series of blog posts on the economics of the Internet, each time from a different angle.

Rudolf holds an MSc in public administration from Twente University in the Netherlands. He has
more than twenty years of experience in telecom policy, in both the private and public sectors. He helped build the Dutch-German Internet Exchange (NDIX) and worked as regulatory affairs manager at Tele2 Netherlands. He has also worked for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Exploring tech and innovation

The Disruptive Competition (DisCo) project explores how technology and innovation intersect with cutting-edge business, competition, and policy questions. DisCo brings together experts to explain how disruptive change in the modern economy promotes growth and advances our society.

DisCo is an initiative of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), an international, not-for-profit association representing a broad cross section of computer, communications, and Internet industry firms. CCIA Europe is based in Brussels and focuses on EU policy for the tech sector.

Recurring stories on traffic growth

In his first blog post, Rudolf discussed the stories about internet traffic growth that Europe’s telecom operators are perpetuating as part of their calls for the introduction of network usage fees, or what they call “fair share” payments. However, figures from ISPs and regulators show that while data traffic is indeed growing, it is fully manageable.

Major EU telcos now argue that OTT providers such as streaming platforms should start paying them for data traffic, saying this investment is needed to ensure that the networks do not succumb to demand. In his second blog post, he shows that the quoted number of €36 billion per year is unsubstantiated. He has been critical of similar lobbying by telecom firms over the last twenty years, who every five years revisit their argument on allegedly unsustainable traffic growth.

Rudolf’s blog series for DisCo is made possible through support by Google.

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