Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and 13 other European telecommunications companies launched a bold drive for big tech to contribute to network expenses on Monday, referencing the energy crisis and EU climate change targets as justifications.

The appeal comes as the European Commission seeks to solicit comments from both parties before releasing a legislative proposal that might require tech corporations to contribute to the cost of deploying 5G and fibre cables across the European Union.

Rising costs and high traffic use prompted this

According to the CEOs of the firms, the industry — which spends over €50 billion ($48.5 billion) on infrastructure each year — requires more cash quickly.

The telcos say that the costs of planning and construction are rising. Prices for fibre optic cables are expected to nearly triple in the first quarter of 2023. Similarly, energy price increases are affecting the networking industry.

The telcos said that action must be taken quickly, adding that Europe has missed out on much of the potential provided by the consumer internet, and must now rapidly strengthen itself for the age of metaverses.

The CEOs think that the biggest traffic producers should compensate for the significant expenses they levy on European networks for this to happen and to be sustainable in the long run.

Big tech doesn’t want to pay

Vodafone, Bouygues Telecom, KPN, BT Group, TIM Group, Telia Company, Fastweb, and Altice Portugal are among the statement’s signatories.

Telecom providers in Europe claim that US tech companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Meta, and Netflix account for more than 50 percent of internet traffic and should shoulder part of the expense of updating infrastructure.

Such requests have been rejected by big tech companies, who have stated that they’re already investing in equipment and technology to provide data more effectively. The coalition of telco providers won’t take no for an answer just yet, as made evident by the new statement.