Sources familiar with the matter said told Reuters That the majority of EU member states oppose taxes on big tech companies to help cover infrastructure costs. Countries warned that the levy could lead to a gap in investment and additional costs could be passed on to consumers through higher prices.
Countries that have criticized the levy include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary and Italy supported the idea and Poland, Portugal and Romania were neutral.
Big tech companies such as Alphabet and Meta Telecom stand to benefit from the infrastructure, according to the heads of mobile and broadband networks. So, telecom companies say, it’s only fair that big tech faces revenue to help maintain the networks they rely on.
Naturally, big tech has dismissed the idea out of hand, as they tend to do when the idea comes up. A third party (government) regulates them.. They argue that they reinvest their revenue into digital ecosystems that benefit societies and that if they have to pay the levy, they won’t have as much to reinvest.
The EU member states expressed their opinion in front of the European Union Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in Luxembourg a few days ago. It will issue a report by the end of this month summarizing the feedback it received from tech giants, telecom providers and others. He will also outline the next steps he will take.
If the telecoms providers don’t get their way, it’s likely we could see mergers such as those being discussed by Vodafone and Three in the UK. With fewer competitors, telecom providers can charge customers higher prices to help cover the costs of their networks.