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EU’s Bid for Big Tech Funding of 5G Rollout Delayed Until 2025

 |  October 11, 2023

Europe’s telecom operators are advocating for major technology companies to share the expenses for the deployment of 5G and broadband networks. However, it appears that the decision regarding potential regulations for this matter may have to wait for the next European Commission, according to Reuters.

Telecom companies, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia, argue that corporations such as Alphabet’s Google, Meta’s Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, and Amazon should contribute to the rollout costs because they constitute a significant portion of internet traffic. This perspective is often referred to as “fair-share funding” by the telecoms, whereas Big Tech companies view it as akin to an internet tax.

Related: Several EU Countries Against Network Fee Levy On Big Tech: Reports

EU industry chief Thierry Breton was initially expected to introduce legislation after soliciting feedback from both sides during the year, citing an investment gap of €200 billion ($212.4 billion). Breton, a former CEO of France Telecom and an advocate for the telecom operators’ cause, encountered resistance from certain fellow commissioners and EU member states.

It now appears that Breton will likely present a strategy on the matter in the following year, deferring the decision on legislation to the next Commission. The current Commission’s five-year term is set to conclude in November of next year.

While a final decision has not been reached, there remains a possibility that a legislative proposal on the funding issue, outlining the European Commission’s long-term objectives, could emerge in the Commission’s forthcoming work program, scheduled for announcement on October 18.

Source: Reuters