BRUSSELS: There is no clear need to make technological giants pay for fifth-generation wireless (5G) and broadband rollouts, Belgium’s telecommunications regulator IBPT-BIPT said today.
Europe’s telecommunications operators have tried to push for major companies, such as Google and Microsoft, to help bear the cost of 5G, but that would probably require waiting for the next European Commission, following European Parliament elections next year, to decide on any rules.
Telecommunications operators, including Deutsche Telekom, have called for what they describe as “fair share funding,” which the Big Tech companies have said would amount to an internet tax.
“IBPT-BIPT considers that the need to oblige internet platforms to pay network operators is not sufficiently demonstrated,” Belgian industry regulator IBPT-BIPT said in a report today.
“IBPT-BIPT considers that the need to introduce a fee based on the volume of Internet traffic for the Belgian market has not been demonstrated,” it added.
The European Union’s industry chief Thierry Breton had been expected by EU telecommunications providers to propose legislation after seeking feedback from both sides by the end of June on what he said is an investment gap of €200 billion.
He has yet to put forward any proposals and sources have said that means any legislation would have to wait for a new Commission to be in place.
The Belgian regulator also said that a permanent, separate fund to help finance temporary peaks in investments may not be appropriate because plans are in place for the rollout of fibre and because some rural areas will benefit from state aid.