Paris, Rome, Madrid want Gafa to help pay EU telecom networks

Paris, Rome, Madrid want Gafa to help pay EU telecom networks

by Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte

MILAN (Reuters) – France, Italy and Spain are stepping up pressure on the European Commission to prepare draft regulations to ensure digital giants help fund telecommunications infrastructure within the EU bloc, shows a document consulted on Monday.

This is the first time that three governments of the European Union have expressed their common opinion on this file, while European regulators indicated last May that they were considering the possibility of asking Google, Meta and Netflix to take bear part of the development costs of the telecom networks.

In a joint document, a copy of which Reuters was able to consult, Paris, Rome and Madrid point out that the six main digital content providers represent 55% of internet traffic.

“This entails specific costs for European telecom operators in terms of capacity, in a period during which they are already investing heavily in the most expensive parts of the 5G and fiber networks”, it is written.

France, Italy and Spain are urging the EU executive to propose a bill “guaranteeing that all market players contribute to the costs of digital infrastructure”, is it added in the document.

Two Italian government officials confirmed the details of the joint document.

No comment could be immediately obtained from the French and Spanish governments.

According to a study published earlier this year by an industry lobby, an annual contribution of 20 billion euros from digital giants could give a boost of 72 billion euros to the European economy.

(Report Elvira Pollina in Milan and Giuseppe Fonte in Rome; French version Jean Terzian)

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