France, Italy and Spain are urging legislation that ensures Big Tech firms partly finance telecom infrastructure in EU
The governments of France, Italy and Spain have expressed their joint position on whether tech giants should bear some of the costs of upgrading telecoms networks in a joint paper, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
The European Commission has been analysing the question since May. Therefore, the three countries urged for a legislative proposal which will ensure that both European telecom networks and large online content providers pay fair shares of network costs.
At present, the cost spread is not equal. Namely, the statement by the authorities of three countries said the six largest content providers (including Google, Meta and Netflix) accounted for 55% of internet traffic.
“This generates specific costs for European telecom operators in terms of capacity, at a time they are already hugely investing in the most costly parts of the networks with 5G and Fiber-To-The-Home,” the document said. It also prosed all market players should contribute to digital infrastructure costs.
According to a study by telecoms lobbying group ETNO, an annual contribution of 20 billion euros to network expenses from Big Tech could give a 72-billion-euro boost to the EU economy. However, digital rights activists have warned that financial deals with tech giants could threaten EU net neutrality rules. Thus, any legislative proposals must prioritise fairness between users while looking for cost-efficiency.
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