August 10, 2022
Big Tech may have to share Europe network cost amid pressure from EU countries, document reveals

France, Italy and Spain are increasing pressure on the European Commission to enact legislation that allows big tech firms to partially finance telecommunications infrastructure in the bloc, a document showed on Monday.

This was the first time that the three governments have expressed their joint position on the issue.

EU regulators said in May they were analyzing questions about whether tech giants Alphabet’s Google, Meta and Netflix should bear some of the costs of upgrading telecommunications networks.

In a joint letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the three governments said the six largest content providers account for 55 percent of Internet traffic.

“This generates specific costs for European telecom operators in terms of capacity, at a time when they are already investing in the most expensive parts of the network with 5G and fiber-to-the-home,” the document said. Huh.”

It urged that European telecommunications networks and large online content providers pay a fair share of the network cost.

“We call for a legislative proposal … ensuring that all market players contribute to the cost of digital infrastructure,” the document said.

Two Italian government officials confirmed the details of the joint document. One of them said Rome’s government was prepared to offer informal support in its caretaker capacity ahead of the general election in September.

The French and Spanish governments immediately responded to requests for comment.

According to a study released by telecom lobbying group ETNO earlier this year, the annual contribution of EUR 20 billion (about Rs 1.6 lakh crore) in network costs by the tech giant could amount to € 72 billion (about Rs 6 lakh crore). Boost to the economy of the European Union.

However, digital rights activists have warned that making Big Tech payments for the network could threaten EU net neutrality rules, which they fear have led to a tie-up with online giants to help fund the telecommunications network. The deal can be watered.

The joint document states that any legislative proposal “must ensure fairness among users in accordance with net neutrality rules, which is a fundamental principle that we need to protect.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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