A European regulatory initiative is being developed at the European Commission aiming to introduce a network fee, forcing online platforms to make financial contributions to telecom network infrastructure. The initiative based on the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association request stems from the claim that operators do not gain the right return on their investments and reorganisation of contribution to costs of network development and maintenance is due.
However, the proposal of introducing the network fee has raised concerns of a number of organisations representing consumers and various industries involved in the digital market. Recently a coalition of 17 European organisations representing various industries pointed out harmful impact of the potential network fee on consumers and innovative European businesses operating in the digital market as well as risks of discrimination against certain providers and undermining the fundamental principle of net neutrality set out in the European Open Internet Regulation, leading to disruption of access to the free and open internet. Research into the outcome of introducing a network fee in CEE countries points towards issues and consequences of technical, regulatory and business nature. These concerns call for debate. Is the proposed fair contribution actually fair?
Let’s dive into the debate on the network fee, while a relevant regulatory initiative is under development. The online workshop will provide a platform to look into the background of the proposal and discuss the possible outcomes and concerns regarding introduction of the network fee. Join us as experts take a deep dive into the issue of network fees and attempt to find out whether they are in fact a fair contribution or an infringement on net neutrality.