Telecoms firms want EU to pay Big Tech for network costs

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According to sources close to the matter, telecom companies are pushing the European Union to pass new laws that would require Big Tech to pay for network costs, as is the case in Australia.

Telecoms companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and others want to attract big tech companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Meta’s Facebook and Netflix, claiming that they use much of the region’s internet traffic, and that Big Tech should contribute to network costs, because Big Tech freeride on telecom operators’ networks.

According to the sources, Australia has recently passed its own laws in the dispute with Google and Facebook, and European telecoms operators want to use them as a weapon against big tech companies, with the aim of getting tech titans and news publishers to reach an agreement before resorting to this procedure of last resort.

The latest proposal, which has not yet been made public, is being discussed by the GSMA, a telecommunications lobbying group representing more than 750 mobile operators.

Google had previously rejected the idea, claiming that it would undermine the principles of the open internet and harm consumers, and could jeopardize net neutrality or open internet access in Europe. It was also stated that Google is already investing millions of dollars in internet infrastructure to improve the efficiency of telecoms providers by carrying traffic 99% of the time.

According to the sources, no official document has yet been sent to Breton. According to one of the sources, the officials are discussing whether the proposal will come directly from the GSMA or from a group of chief executives.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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