Majority of EU countries either rejected or called further examination of network fee levy on big tech
Majority of the EU countries have either outright rejected the network fee levy on big tech or called for further study of the proposal. Several EU ministers raised lack of analysis and net neutrality concerns. At the same time, some telecommunications companies argued that big tech companies should bear a portion of the network costs due to their important data and content contributions to network traffic.
During a meeting led by the EU industry chief Thierry Breton, telecoms ministers from 18 countries either rejected the network fee levy on big tech companies or called for further examination to evaluate its necessity and potential impact. According to Reuters’s sources, the purpose of the levy is to generate funds for the expansion of 5G and broadband services throughout the region.
Telecom giants, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia, argued that big tech companies should bear a portion of the network costs due to their substantial data and content contributions to network traffic. However, Google, Apple, Meta Platforms, Netflix, Amazon, and Microsoft opposed the proposal, highlighting their existing investments in the digital ecosystem.
EU ministers raised concerns regarding the lack of analysis on the levy’s effects, the potential passing on of costs to consumers, violations of net neutrality rules, barriers to innovation, and compromised product quality. Breton is expected to issue a report summarising feedback from big tech companies and telecom providers by the end of June, which will shape future actions. Any legislative proposal would require negotiation with the EU member states and lawmakers before becoming law.