Big Tech wins a big political victory in Europe.

Nov 10
It appeared early in the year that Europe might be able to shift the balance away from big tech and toward regional telecom providers.

The fair share idea, pushed by telecommunications corporations, is gaining traction in the European Commission, where top officials have promised to enact laws before their departure in 2024.

This is now ruled out, though. A fair share law that would compel online businesses to reimburse internet service providers will not be released by Brussels.

"After the next group assumes power in 2025, the next commission will make the decision. Thierry Breton, the European Union's Commissioner for the Internal Market, stated that the consolation prize would be a white paper authored by the present commission, with the expectation that the next one will propose a Digital Networks Act.

The shifting political landscape clouded this week's telecom summit in Brussels. The CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG, the most successful telecom firm in Europe due in large part to its majority ownership of T-Mobile in the US, has cataloged grievances over the European market, including excessive competition, a lack of consolidation, excessive bureaucracy, and an unfair share.

CEO Timotheus Hettges stated, "I am very pessimistic that Europe will play a significant role in the digital age."

Equitable distribution has never been a popular concept. Big IT businesses and digital rights groups, who have opposed the regulation for several reasons, have found unlikely allies as a result. They both believe that the legislation threatens net neutrality, something that telecom corporations contest.

The notion was supported in principle by commission officials, but there were disagreements about how to carry it out in practice, and there was uncertainty about how to handle the possibility that a fair share might increase consumer prices.

All of this culminated in a national ministers' meeting in Luxembourg in June, where several European nations expressed opposition to fair sharing. Ever since Breton has spoken more frequently about other challenges than fair share that are impeding the expansion of telecom companies,

Over the past year, telecom corporations have been pushing fair share shares, but their main goal is to be able to purchase one another. Therefore, shifting the focus away from Breton could be beneficial.

One of the frequently cited statistics at this week's conference is that the US has three mobile phone operators, whereas Luxembourg, a nation of approximately 650,000 people, has four.

What the upcoming commission will do to alter the image is unknown. Orange SA's CEO, Christelle Heidemann, stated that she is unwilling to wait another two years for reform.
"How many operators will split up or be purchased by foreign investors? There's not much time left," she declared. The business is requesting approval from Europe for the much-discussed merger in Spain.

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