The NE(X)T Neutrality

This CLAx event in Bruxelles addressed the fair share in the digital era. The event focused on the debate surrounding the taxation of large Internet companies to finance the expansion of Ultrafast Broadband, 5G, and cloud infrastructure.

An open debate on the

future of the Internet

and its infrastructures

Event summary


26 September 2023

The Consumer Empowerment Project together with the Institute for Competitiveness (I-Com) held a CLAx roundtable discussion titled “The NE(X)T Neutrality: An open debate on the future of the Internet and its infrastructure”.

During the panel debate, participants exchanged views on the future of networks and the exciting new value-generating uses for consumers that will be made possible, such as driving automation, telemedicine or instant messaging, through developments in electronic communications. As was mentioned by participants, this inclusive CLAx event was very relevant at a time when discussions on the evolution of the Internet ecosystem are taking place throughout the world, including in the EU, and are oftentimes driven exclusively by partisan arguments. 

While the CLAx event took place prior to the release of the results of the exploratory consultation on the future of the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure by the European Commission – the discussion was generally aligned with the overall findings shared by the European Commission. As a starting point, the key elements of the BEREC preliminary assessment and input to the exploratory consultation were built upon by participants.

One important message shared by participants is the importance for the conversation around the Open Internet and contributions to infrastructure costs to be kept inclusive of all Internet ecosystem stakeholders.

The panel also addressed how to address the need for investment for network deployment. One of the main ideas discussed was the need for scaling pro-competitive policies in the telecom market that have already proven helpful in this regard. Consumer education on optimising network use as well as possible actions by content providers were also pointed out as potential solutions for the reduction of access-related costs. Introduction of the fact that data consumption has actually diminished, whilst costs have remained the same, led to discussions on how stimulating demand could serve as an engine for the investment needs linked to infrastructure.

From the regulatory perspective, some mentioned how regulation cannot be the solution to everything, stressing the utmost importance of developing a comprehensive and overarching vision for the future in consultation with stakeholders before making formal regulatory proposals.

The keynote speech of Prof. Antonio Manganelli (LUMSA University) provided insightful elements on the economic perspective on the debate.

We are proud that this CLAx event brought together such a diverse group of stakeholders facilitating an open and fruitful discussion on such an important topic for the future of the Internet and digital rights of consumers. In line with the spirit of the Consumer Empowerment Project, this CLAx event is the demonstration that the power of dialogue can help foster a common understanding even in the most politicised and heated policy debates.

Marco Scialdone, Director of the Consumer Empowerment Project



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