Telcos push EU to make big tech pay for network costs

Telcos push EU to make big tech pay for network costs

Reuters reports that European telecom operators are pressuring the European Union to implement new laws that make big tech pay for network costs. According to the report, telcos want to the European Union to adopt laws similar to those currently in place in Australia.

In the past months, Europe’s telecoms operators have been lobbying for a financial contribution from major tech firms like Alphabet’s Google, Meta’s Facebook and Netflix. The operators argue that tech giants use a huge portion of the continent’s overall bandwidth. According to the operators, additional network fees would be fair.

The latest proposal, which has yet to be published, is being discussed within telecom lobby group GSMA, an association that represents more than 750 mobile operators. John Giusti, GSMA’s chief regulatory officer, said that “GSMA is coordinating a proposal that speaks to big tech contributions to European infrastructure.”

No formal documents have yet been sent to European Commissioner Thierry Breton, Reuters confirmed. According to the article, officials are discussing whether the proposal will be made directly by the GSMA or by a group of chief executives. Many EU agencies have opposed the idea.

The telcos’ proposal comes just ahead of the EU’s consultation on ‘fair share’ contributions from the likes of Google, Netflix, Meta and Amazon, which account for more than half of all European internet traffic. The platforms themselves dismiss the idea and consider it an additional traffic tax.

Looking for a solution down under

In its own fight with Google and Facebook, Australia has recently adopted laws that allow an Australian government-appointed arbitrator to set fees if big tech companies and news publishers fail to find a common ground over copyright.

Insider sources told Reuters that the laws have emerged as the preferred weapon in Australian telcos’ disputes with big tech. The goal is to encourage tech giants and news publishers to reach an agreement before moving to the new last-resort procedure.