top of page

 

Voices of the IGF: Panel on Cost Sharing – “Who Bears the Cost of the Internet?”


Amidst this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Kyoto, Japan, a pivotal panel delved into the theme of “(Un)fair Share,” scrutinizing the proposals for cost-sharing to finance the Internet.

In both the Japanese discourse and Anatel’s Public Consultation No. 13 in Brazil, along with the European Commission’s public consultation (explored comprehensively here and here), a discernible polarization emerged: the major telecommunications companies pitted against the collective spectrum.

To illustrate this divide, we have methodically compiled excerpts from the presentations below, categorizing the viewpoints as either supportive or opposing the cost-sharing proposition.


List of participants in the IGF Panel

Speaker

Institution

Position

Camila Leite

IDEC

Against

Jean-Jacques Sahel

International Institute of Communications (IIC)

Against

Konstantinos Komaitis

Atlantic Council

Against

Thomas Lohninger

epicenter.works

Against

Maarit Palovirta

European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO)

In favor

Gonzalo López-Barajas Huder

Telefonica

In favor

Luca Belli (moderador)

​FGV-Rio

Neutral

Artur Coimbra

Anatel

Neutral

Kyung Sin Park

Korea University

Neutral

Check out the key points from the testimonies below. For the complete speeches, refer to the LINK. We have refined the speeches in written form as needed for enhanced clarity.



OPPOSITION TO COST-SHARING:

Camila Leite (IDEC): “We harbor significant concerns about Internet fragmentation. The Internet’s success lies in its design as an open and interactive environment.”

Jean-Jacques Sahel (IIC): “Evidence has already shown that the introduction of network fees would be highly detrimental to consumers.”

Konstantinos Komaitis (Atlantic Council): “My focus centers on infrastructure. The prevailing notion, or at least the subject of policy discourse, is that a solitary actor manages infrastructure. This is not necessarily accurate. [...] Local governments contribute to broadband connectivity. Pension funds support infrastructure. Naturally, telecom operators, technology companies, and energy companies also play a part. We have an extensive ecosystem of contributors ensuring the Internet’s reliability and security.”

Thomas Lohninger (epicenter.works): “An idea dismissed as futile a decade ago has now found its way to the European Commission. We are now engaged in consultations where everyone is explaining why this idea is futile, except for the telecoms. Their response is that they simply don’t generate enough profit.”


SUPPORT FOR COST-SHARING:

Maarit Palovirta (ETNO): “We find ourselves in a situation where there is both a push to invest and an escalation in the digitization of society. While we welcome this digitization, we must strike a balance between the responsibilities of network operators, a pivotal part of the ecosystem, and those providing services and content.”

Gonzalo López-Barajas Huder (Telefônica): “In Europe, concerning network infrastructure revenues, they are lower than capital costs. Therefore, the amounts needed for infrastructure investment outweigh any return on investment.”


UNDEFINED POSITIONS ON COST-SHARING:

Luca Belli (FGV-Rio): “It seems consensual that some form of fair share is not a bad idea. However, perhaps this particular fair share is not the definitive solution to the problem.”

Artur Coimbra (Anatel): “My closing message, as a Brazilian regulator, is that we must thoroughly evaluate and precisely define the problem we aim to solve before prescribing any remedy.”


Comments


bottom of page