EU to consider making big tech shoulder network costs in Europe

The European Union is set to launch a consultation into whether big tech players like Google and Facebook should contribute towards telecoms network costs.

This comes after a period of successful lobbying from European telcos who have long called on big tech to shoulder at least part of their network costs. 

In a statement, EU industry chief Thierry Breton confirmed the review, saying: “We also need to review whether the regulation is adapted with the ‘GAFAs’ (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) for example, which use bandwidth (provided by) telecom operators.”

The review will be part of a wide consultation which will also include a closer examination of metaverse technologies. 

It comes after ETNO, the European lobby for telco operators, published a report which claimed that more than half of the global network traffic is attributable to Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

Internet operators have argued that these companies act as ‘free riders’ and exploit their networks in order to offer competing products such as video and voice services. 

Advocates for those big tech firms however have said that introducing financial contribution obligations would harm net neutrality.

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