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Big tech should share Europe network costs - France, Italy, Spain document

Stock Markets Aug 02, 2022 02:25AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo for Google LLC is seen at the Google Store Chelsea in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly 2/2

By Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte

MILAN (Reuters) -France, Italy and Spain are stepping up pressure on the European Commission to come up with legislation that ensures Big Tech firms partly finance telecoms infrastructure in the bloc, a document showed on Monday.

This was the first time the three governments have expressed their joint position on the issue.

EU regulators said in May they were analysing the question of whether tech giants Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)'s Google, Meta and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) should shoulder some of the costs of upgrading telecoms networks.

In a joint paper, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, the three governments said the six largest content providers accounted for 55% of internet traffic.

"This generates specific costs for European telecom operators in terms of capacity, at a time they are already hugely investing in the most costly parts of the networks with 5G and Fiber-To-The-Home," the document said.

It urged that European telecom networks and large online content providers pay fair shares of network costs.

"We call for a legislative proposal ... ensuring all market players contribute to digital infrastructure costs," the document said.

Two Italian government officials confirmed details of the joint document. One of them said Rome's government was set to give informal support in its caretaking capacity ahead of a general election in September.

The French and Spanish governments did immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to a study released by telecoms lobbying group ETNO earlier this year, an annual contribution of 20 billion euros to network costs by the tech giants could give a 72-billion-euro boost to the EU economy.

However, digital rights activists have warned making Big Tech pay for networks could threaten EU net neutrality rules, which they feared could be watered down in a deal with online giants to help fund telecoms network.

Any legislative proposal should "ensure fairness between users in accordance with the net neutrality rules, which is a core principle we absolutely need to preserve," the joint document said.

Big tech should share Europe network costs - France, Italy, Spain document
 

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Comments (7)
MS SM
MS SM Aug 02, 2022 3:06AM ET
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Devil is in details. If EU will compromise in personal data or anything else by getting FAANG's $20B - this is a disaster. Otherwise, they can find a compromise and FAANG can demonstrate what value did they bring to EU economy.
Takis Karalivanos
Takis Karalivanos Aug 02, 2022 3:04AM ET
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Europe is failing once again to grasp the concept of R&D so they fall back to their usual tax the rich scheme. Astonishingly profound misunderstanding of how the economy works and loser mindset . That's why we've become puppets of Putin.
MS SM
MS SM Aug 02, 2022 3:04AM ET
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For politicians developing a new tax policy to make money out of nothing is a R&D, lol
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 02, 2022 2:27AM ET
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Makes sense. I pay road taxes, council taxes and utility bills for making use of services/facilities that were built by others. Why wouldn't that be the same for these companies?
Tariq Almutawa
SellAllFake Aug 02, 2022 2:25AM ET
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They wouldn’t even think of thinking about this if Trump was president. The EU will gladly steal US shareholder money if given the opportunity to do so.
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Aug 02, 2022 2:25AM ET
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You realize that these big tech companies do/did everything within their powers to avoid paying taxes in the US? Talking about stealing money...
Kris Jay
Kris Jay Aug 02, 2022 2:19AM ET
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socialism - "You have money so we want that money for us."
Bull Power
Bull Power Aug 02, 2022 2:15AM ET
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Sorry who do you think is responsible for the traffic EVERYWHERE ELSE on earth? Do you actually believe that successful companies need to build infrastructure everywhere on earth? If you don't like the traffic generated, ban those services in your country, see what the citizens think. What an absurd demand, they seem to not be aware that if this passes - Europe is the last region in the entire world that would get subsided as Europe and North America are both with far superior infrastructure to the rest of the earth so the worse shape it is - the higher the priority for sure, and then those companies have more Employess in North America so that's a priority over Europe, putting Europe as the last place on earth this will happen, In other words - stop being cheapskates and upgrade your own infrastructure, there's enough taxation in the EU that you can easily afford it.
nick cage
nick cage Aug 01, 2022 7:04PM ET
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Hammer them to the ground
 
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