News - October 12, 2022

INCOMPAS, in Partnership with CCIA and Others, Launches Paper on the Tech Industry’s Investment in Global Internet Infrastructure

New research pegs digital investment in the networks at $883 billion and related cost-savings for ISPs at over $6 billion annually
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 12, 2022) – INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, launched a paper today that quantifies the investments tech companies have made in the global network infrastructure of the internet. The research, conducted by Analysys Mason and launched in partnership with CCIA, DOT Europe, the Asia Internet Coalition and the Korean Internet Association, finds that tech companies have invested $883 billion in the internet’s infrastructure in the past decade, which saves ISPs about $6.5 billion each year.

Despite this significant investment, countries around the world are considering "network usage fees" that would tax these companies. These measures often are designed to discriminate against certain U.S.-based content and application providers and would require them to pay tens of billions to incumbent, often state-affiliated foreign telecom operators. According to Analysys Mason’s research, such fees could disrupt incentives, investment and competition, resulting in unintended negative consequences for the internet ecosystem. 

“The global economy runs on networks and those networks would be broken without the massive $883 billion investment by streaming, gaming and tech innovators,” said Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS. “The paper provides a true, honest and holistic look at the network ecosystem - where global and local investments by the tech industry have saved large ISPs billions and revolutionized the speed and quality of content to consumers who today see more choice, competition and savings.” 

Key findings of the report include:

  • Content and Applications Providers (CAPs) spent $883 billion on internet infrastructure from 2011 to 2021. 
  • From 2018-2021, CAPs increased their digital infrastructure investment over 50%, making an annual investment of more than $120 billion.
  • CAP investments to bring traffic closer to end users improve the quality of service by ISPs and save ISPs $5.0-$6.4 billion each year. 
  • While traffic volumes have grown significantly, costs for ISPs have remained stable over time.
  • Imposing network usage fees on CAPs could result in lower quality internet experiences, reduced investment in networks, less ISP competition and higher prices for consumers. 
“This paper establishes what CCIA has long held: telecom network owners’ attempts to extract payments from online services; however, those attempts are branded, unfounded and misguided,” said Matt Schruers, President of CCIA. “The evidence demonstrates that U.S. digital services increase both capacity and broadband demand. Not only do digital services, or “CAPs”, provide premium content and applications to a waiting public, but they help to deploy network infrastructure that delivers these services to subscribers.”

“Mandated network usage fees will only reinforce the position of incumbent telco providers while disrupting innovation and competition to the detriment of European users,” said Siada El Ramly, Director General of DOT Europe. 

“The research findings underscore the value that technology companies bring to the ecosystem with their investments in global network infrastructure, which has brought about significant savings for ISPs, together with the delivery of high-quality internet experiences to consumers. We believe that this report offers policymakers valuable insights that will enable them to consider policy approaches that support technology companies’ continued investment in critical digital infrastructure,” said Jeff Paine, Managing Director of the Asia Internet Coalition.

INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association, is the leading trade group advocating for competition policy across all networks. INCOMPAS represents new network builders who deploy fiber for wired, wireless, satellite and 5G broadband solutions for homes, businesses, schools, libraries and government customers. Together with streaming and internet innovation leaders, INCOMPAS advocates for laws and policies that promote competition, innovation and economic development. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter: @INCOMPAS