Options for Financing Digital Network Infrastructure

Brief Economic Analysis

The increasing digitization of the economy and society is leading to an ever greater increase in global data traffic. The development of artificial intelligence will further intensify this trend. While the generation of data occurs predominantly through service providers worldwide, the use of corresponding data-based digital services requires an infrastructure provided by national network operators. In order to be able to handle the dynamically increasing data traffic, ever greater investments in the expansion of digital networks are therefore required. Against this background, a controversial discussion has been going on for some time now under the heading of "fair share" or "fair contribution" as to whether and, if so, how global providers of digital services can also share in the massive costs of expanding the digital network infrastructure. In order to classify the current discussion, a brief analysis will provide an overview of the various options for financing digital infrastructures. Based on the results of the analysis, options for economic policy action are outlined.