A very broad coalition of stakeholders has come together to publicly warn against introducing network fees via a joint statement. This includes many industries and sectors, consumers and civil society and a very broad alliance. It is accompanied by a supporting statement signed by a few MEPs.
“Never in the last decade has the European Commission appeared so captured by special interests and shown such disrespect for its own due diligence principles. Former France Telecom CEO and current Commissioner Thierry Breton seems determined to sacrifice consumer choice, competition and the open internet for the profits of the telecom industry.”
– Thomas Lohninger from the digital rights NGO epicenter.works.
This is an unprecedented alliance of stakeholders all united against one principle: introducing a mandatory network fee or “fair share” contribution. This is clearly not just about big tech and big telcos. European SMEs, the creative industry, civil society and consumers all believe that there is no proof that there is a market failure to be addressed, and the solution proposed by large telecom providers would pose serious threats to competition, consumers’ freedom of choice, and the internet ecosystem as a whole.
“A network fee direct payments scheme is not the right solution to achieve high quality and affordable connectivity for consumers. We are concerned about its negative effects on competition and net neutrality. Since telecom regulators corroborate that there is no evidence to justify this mechanism, this would risk being the wrong solution for the wrong problem. We hope that the European Commission will draw the consequences and not pursue this idea further.”
– Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)
In light of this and many other concerns, the European Commission should launch a thorough and comprehensive impact assessment and evidence gathering exercise before jumping to hasty conclusions.
“The false premise on which this consultation is based, is a triumph of lobbying over logic, at the behest of Big Telcos. SMEs and consumers are faced with an unprecedented threat to fair competition in Internet access in the internal market. Why is it that SME ISPs can grow based on a business model being paid once by the customer for giving consumers access to the Internet Content the customer wants and yet some big ISPs claim that model is broken, and they want to be paid a 2nd time for what their customers have already paid for.”
– Tom Smyth, CEO of Wireless Connect Ltd
In face of this severe threat, together we will continue to stand up for the protection of the free and open internet!