Meta platforms urges caution with Big Tech subsidies for EU Telecoms

Meta suggests that subsidies from Big Tech should be a last resort for EU telecoms operators seeking financial support for their network costs. They argue that subsidies may not effectively address the challenges faced by operators and overlook the investments made by tech companies.

 Electronics, Phone, Mobile Phone, Text

Meta has expressed that EU telecom operators should consider subsidies from Big Tech as a last resort when seeking financial assistance for their network costs. Telecom giants like Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telefonica have long pushed for US tech giants to contribute to the deployment of 5G and broadband infrastructure, citing their significant role in generating internet traffic in the EU.

However, Meta argues that relying on subsidies from tech companies would not effectively address the financial challenges faced by telecom operators and would disregard the substantial investments already made by these tech firms. Meta proposes that telcos receiving subsidies should be subject to strong regulatory oversight to ensure that the funds are strictly used for network investment.

Additionally, Meta suggests that telcos seeking subsidies should demonstrate their efforts to engage with content application providers for alternative non-subsidy solutions. The company also recommends that subsidies be awarded through a fair tender process, granting access to all network operators and not just the larger players. Furthermore, Meta suggests imposing additional restrictions on incumbent operators receiving government-like bailouts, including the elimination of executive bonuses, compensation caps, and dividend freezes.

The European Commission has not yet responded to these statements from Meta. A majority of EU countries have rejected the notion of imposing a network fee on Big Tech. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which consists of EU telecoms regulators, has also criticised the efforts of telecom providers to make Big Tech companies contribute to the cost of 5G and broadband rollout in Europe.