Italy Backs EU Proposals for Tech Contribution to Telecom Infrastructure Costs

Italy’s Industry Minister, Adolfo Urso, expressed broad support for European Union proposals that aim to make Big Tech companies contribute to the financing of telecom infrastructure within the EU. Minister Adolfo Urso made this statement during an EU telecoms minister meeting held in Leon, Spain, on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan mobile networkAdolfo Urso emphasized the importance of ensuring that all participants benefiting from the digital transformation fairly and proportionately share the costs of infrastructure development. He emphasized that this shared responsibility is essential to maintain and expand the telecoms infrastructure that supports the growing digital ecosystem.

However, before enacting any legislation in this regard, the EU must conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine whether and to what extent network infrastructure is genuinely strained by the content and services generated by Big Tech firms. This assessment aims to strike a balance between cost-sharing and maintaining an efficient digital ecosystem.

Telecom companies have advocated for Big Tech firms, including Alphabet’s Google, Meta’s Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft, and Amazon, to contribute to the high-speed network rollout expenses since these platforms account for a substantial portion of internet traffic. Telecom giants such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia refer to this approach as fair-share funding, while the tech companies label it as an internet tax.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who previously served as the chief executive of France Telecom and supports the network operators’ stance, will outline a comprehensive strategy on the subject. It is anticipated that this strategy will be left for the new Commission, which will emerge from the upcoming European election, to determine whether to propose corresponding legislation, Reuters news report said.

Minister Adolfo Urso voiced Italy’s belief that the EU Commission should conduct a more extensive assessment and allocate more time to evaluate the actual impact of traffic generated on network infrastructure before moving forward with any legislative proposals.

This cautious approach reflects Italy’s commitment to strike a balance between the interests of telecom operators and Big Tech companies within the evolving digital landscape. The outcome of this debate could have far-reaching implications for how the EU manages the costs of its digital infrastructure in the future.