Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and 13 other European telecommunications providers are calling for everything possible to be done to get major technology companies to share network costs, citing the energy crisis and EU climate change goals, Reuters reports.
The call comes as the European Commission prepares to get feedback from both sides before introducing a legislative proposal that could force technology companies to help pay for the rollout of 5G and fiber optic cables in the European Union's 27 countries.
The sector, which invests about 50 billion euros annually in infrastructure, needs more funding and urgently, company executives said in a statement.
The cost of planning and construction work is increasing. For example, fiber-optic cable prices almost doubled in the first half of 2022. Similarly, price hikes for energy and other resources are also hitting the communications sector.
Timely action is needed: Europe has missed out on many of the opportunities offered by the consumer Internet. It must now quickly gain strength for the era of meta-universes, the CEO said. For this to happen and for it to be sustainable over time, we believe the largest traffic generators must make a fair contribution to the significant costs they currently incur on European networks, they said.
Vodafone, Bouygues Telecom, KPN, BT Group, TIM Group, Telia Company, Fastweb and Altice Portugal also signed the statement.
European telcos argue that U.S. technology firms such as Google, Meta and Netflix, owned by Alphabet, account for more than half of Internet traffic and should bear some of the cost of infrastructure upgrades.