EU countries to charge tech firms for telecoms infrastructure

Member countries of the European Union want Google and Netflix to contribute money to telecoms infrastructure in order to expand 5G across the EU.

On May 11, the Council — which represents the 27 EU states — took a stand on a key policy initiative aimed at making Europe a technology leader by 2030.

EU capitals wrote that “all market actors benefiting from the digital transformation” should assume their social responsibilities and “make a fair and proportionate contribution to the costs of public goods, services and infrastructures” implying a future tax on online platforms’ use of telecoms infrastructure.

According to POLITICO, EU members resisted a drive by French authorities to explicitly name “big platforms” as the ones responsible for paying for digital infrastructure.

The digital policy initiative does not impose a tax or define what constitutes a reasonable contribution. The European Parliament will also have to negotiate details with the Council.

However, the new phrasing reflects a growing trend among European legislators to make foreign online platforms carry some of the expense of infrastructure that is presently borne by European telecoms corporations such as Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefónica.

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