Germany and five other countries have asked the European Commission to clarify proposals to have big tech pay some of the expenses of EU telecom network operators, joining a discussion that has sparked both support and resistance from interest groups.

The six largest content providers — including Google, Netflix and Amazon — transmit over half of all internet data traffic on the internet.

Over the past few months, telecom operators such as Telecom Italia, Orange, Telefonica, and Deutsche Telekom have been lobbying to instate an additional contribution for the largest content providers.

Google, Netflix, Meta, Amazon.com, and other giants have called it a web traffic tax and an effort to siphon money from one sector to prop up the old guard. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said that he will start a dialogue in early 2023 before proposing legislation.

“We as member states have always considered an open and transparent debate on substance on the ‘fair share’ topic as of great importance”, Austria, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, Europe’s leading economy, recently wrote in a joint letter to the Commission.

“However, we urge the Commission to further create transparency on its intended timeline, analyses and steps on this topic”, the group said.

BCRD

Additionally, the countries argued that the subject should be treated independently and not in conjunction with another piece of legislation called the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive (BCRD), which they asserted dealt with other concerns. The BCRD aims to set out measures to cut the cost of deploying fast-speed networks.