Big Tech: Not clear Big Tech need pay for 5G, broadband rollout, Belgian regulator says

There is no clear need to make technological giants help to pay for 5G and broadband rollout, Belgium’s telecoms regulator IBPT-BIPT said on Monday.

Europe’s telecoms operators have tried to push for major companies, such as Google and Microsoft, to help bear the cost of fifth generation techology, but that would probably require waiting for the next European Commission, following European Parliament elections next year, to decide on any rules.

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Telecom 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 on Monday.

“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.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton had been expected by EU telecom 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 euros ($213.92 billion).

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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.

($1 = 0.9349 euros)

(Reporting by Marine Strauss; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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