Digital SMEs call for measures to make the European internet ecosystem fairer and stronger

The European DIGITAL SME Alliance, representing a network of 45.000 ICT small and medium enterprises in Europe, calls for strong measures ensuring that the European internet ecosystem becomes fairer, creates more opportunities for homegrown digital innovation and delivers affordable prices for connectivity services.

In this context, we support the European Commission’s efforts in speeding up the roll-out of new broadband networks and ensuring that the internet ecosystem is fair and balanced. “At the same time we call on the Commission to consider SMEs as an integral part of the internet ecosystem:  rules must be designed to ensure that SMEs can benefit from high-speed connectivity that is affordable and available both in urban and rural areas,” said DIGITAL SME President Dr Oliver Grün.

As outlined in the EU Digital Decade targets, fixed and mobile very high capacity networks are essential for European companies – and SMEs in particular –to seize the digital opportunity, become even more innovative and stay competitive on global markets. While this shift to new networks requires significant investment, it is crucial that the prices of connectivity are affordable, especially for SMEs.

In this context, we support Vice-President Vestager’s statements and Commissioner Breton’s remarks, who called to evaluate the need for big tech companies to adequately contribute to investment in network roll-out. However, we insist that such contributions shall translate into more affordable conditions for SMEs to use the networks which are a key element of a thriving digital ecosystem.

A balanced, fair and equitable internet ecosystem is essential to support a thriving digital ecosystem and to ensure that small and medium-sized companies get a fair shot at innovating and growing. That can be assured with rules that are adapted to the benefits that each segment of the ecosystem obtains. Rules must treat each player accordingly to its size and own benefit. It is of the utmost importance that SMEs continue to benefit from a flourishing digital ecosystem where the European rules rebalance excessive market power and excessive benefits either by big tech companies or by the telecom providers.

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