Meta Platforms said on Thursday Big Tech subsidies may be the last resort for telecom operators in the European Union trying to trick US companies into taking on some of their network costs.
Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and other operators have campaigned for US tech giants to contribute to 5G and broadband rollouts for two decades, claiming they are responsible for a large chunk of internet traffic in the region.
The European Commission launched a consultation earlier this year on whether tech giants should bear part of the cost of Europe’s telecoms network.
Companies like Meta have said such a move would not solve telecom companies’ financial woes, ignoring heavy investments from tech companies.
Telecom companies receiving subsidies should also be subject to strict regulatory oversight, including a process to ensure the funds are only used for network investments, Meta said in a response to the European Commission’s exploratory consultation on network fees.
A majority of European Union countries have also rejected a push to levy a network fee from Big Tech, sources told Reuters earlier this month.
The European Commission did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Meta said: “The Commission should first require any telecom company applying for subsidies to demonstrate that it first worked in good faith with CAPs (content application providers) to find technical, non-subsidized solutions.”
Added that all subsidies will be awarded through a bidding process to ensure availability for all carriers and not just the big ones.
“Established operators receiving the functional equivalent of government bailouts should be subject to additional restrictions, such as: B. the elimination of bonuses for executives, caps on remuneration and the freeze on dividends,” it said.
© Thomson Reuters 2023