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France, Italy, and Spain argue that Big Tech should split the cost of the European Internet network

A leaked document on Monday revealed that France, Italy, and Spain are increasing their pressure on the European Commission to develop legislation that ensures Big Tech companies partially finance telecoms infrastructure in the Union.

The three governments officially stated their shared stance on the matter for the first time at this time.

EU regulators stated in May that they were examining the issue of whether tech behemoths like Netflix, Meta, and Google, owned by Alphabet, should contribute to the expense of modernizing telecom networks.

The three governments claimed that the six biggest content providers were responsible for 55% of Internet traffic in a joint paper, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The document said "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."

It urged fair network cost sharing from major online content providers and European telecom networks.

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

Details of the joint document were confirmed by two Italian government officials. In advance of a general election in September, one of them claimed that Rome's government was prepared to provide informal support in its role as caretaker.

A request for comment from Reuters was met with an instant response from the French and Spanish governments.

A study published earlier this year by telecom lobbying group ETNO found that the EU economy could benefit by €72 billion if the tech giants contributed €20 billion annually to network costs.

Making Big Tech pay for networks, however, has sparked concerns from advocates for digital rights that it could jeopardize EU net neutrality laws, which they worry might be weakened as part of a deal with online giants to help finance telecom networks.

The joint document stated that any proposed legislation must "ensure fairness between users in accordance with the net neutrality rules, which is a core principle we absolutely need to preserve."


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