According to Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, the European Union’s executive body will launch a consultation in early 2023 on whether technology giants should bear part of the cost of Europe’s telecoms networks.
Previously, European telecoms operators had argued for financial contributions from companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix, claiming that they account for a significant share of internet traffic.
“We also need to look at whether the regulation is compatible with the GAFAs [Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, which use telecom operators’ bandwidth,” Breton said.
In addition, the consultation would start in the first quarter of 2023 and last five to six months, followed by the Commission’s proposals, and it would be part of a broader discussion that would cover broader issues such as the metaverse.
In response, these tech titans have argued that any new monetary obligation would jeopardize “net neutrality,” or the principle that internet service providers should provide access to all content and applications, regardless of origin.
This comes at a time when some MEPs are gearing up to write a letter to Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, Breton, and EU digital chief Margrethe Vestager, calling on them to ensure that companies that generate the most traffic on the network infrastructure contribute fairly and proportionately to the costs.
The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.