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European Telecom Giants Challenge US Big Tech Over Regulatory Equality

 |  July 2, 2024

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association made a bold move in its ongoing battle against U.S. tech giants. In a newly-released position paper, the association, representing Europe’s largest telecom operators, called for a leveled playing field in the regulatory landscape.

Telecoms Demand Fair Treatment

ETNO’s stance underscores a growing rift between European telecoms and American tech behemoths like Netflix and YouTube. At the heart of the dispute lies the disparity in regulatory burdens and profit distribution. Telecom operators argue that while they invest heavily in infrastructure, content providers capitalize on these networks without bearing equivalent costs or regulatory scrutiny, reported Euractive. 

Regulatory Discrepancies

Paolo Grassia, senior director of public policy at ETNO, emphasized discrepancies in regulatory treatment. He cited issues such as contract terms, bundled offers and emergency communication obligations, which are more stringent for telecoms than for U.S. tech firms providing similar services.

Related: UK Passes Digital Markets, Competition Bill to Curb Big Tech

Calls for Regulatory Parity

ETNO’s position paper responds to the European Commission’s (EC) recent white paper on telecoms and ongoing public consultations. The association advocates for aligning regulatory frameworks to create a fair environment across the telecom and tech sectors.

Evolution of Telecom Regulations

Laszlo Toth of GSMA highlighted the need for regulatory frameworks to adapt to technological advancements. He suggested extending telecom regulations to cover the entire connectivity value chain, including cloud infrastructures, to ensure comprehensive oversight.

Future Outlook

The debate, ignited by the EC’s white paper on telecoms, signals a pivotal moment in Europe’s digital strategy. As the consultation period draws to a close, stakeholders await potential shifts in policy that could impact the future of connectivity and competition within the EU.

Source: Euractive