A majority of EU countries have rejected a proposal by telecoms providers to impose a special tax or contribution duty on big tech companies like Google to fund the rollout of 5G and broadband networks in the region. In a meeting with EU industry chief Thierry Breton, telecoms ministers from 18 countries have rejected network charges or demanded an impact study be prepared – it has been reported. Reuters.
BEREC, a group of EU telecoms regulators, is against the move because they believe it will harm users.
Telecom giants Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Telecom Italia have taken the initiative to impose consent requirements on technology companies and platform providers such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft. These companies carry a significant portion of the network load. However, the companies concerned rejected the idea, citing that they were already investing in the digital ecosystem.
Telecom ministers opposed to the network tax have expressed concern over the lack of analysis of its effects, but they also argue that a lack of funding will hamper investments. According to other member states, imposing a separate fee could violate EU net neutrality rules, hinder innovation and impose additional costs on consumers if technology companies pay their own costs.
Countries such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland were critics, while countries such as France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Italy and Cyprus supported the proposal.
Thierry Breton is expected to release a report by the end of June summarizing the views of technology companies, telecom operators and others, assessing the effects of the special tax on network development. Any legal proposal related to this will have to be negotiated with EU countries and legislators before it becomes law, and as things stand, the unified regulation will soon fail because, behind Germany, many member states are lining up among critics.
Cover image: Getty Images/Sigion.