The European Union is considering a proposal to make technology companies that rely heavily on bandwidth, such as Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc., contribute to the cost of upgrading 5G infrastructure in Europe. The idea was originally proposed back in 2012 by ETNO and has been recently revived by EU commissioner Thierry Breton due to rising concerns over falling behind US and Asian standards for 5G infastructure.
These worries intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic when Apple TV+’s large bandwidth consumption prompted officials to approach streaming services with requests to reduce their data usage. This restriction was eventually lifted in May 2020 after months of discussion.
When asked about his thoughts on the proposal, Thierry Breton commented: “We need to ensure that we use our capacity efficiently so that everyone can benefit from Europe’s digital future.” He also highlighted how this plan would not only help create more sustainable networks but also increase competition within Europe’s tech industry.
As of now, it is unclear what form this plan would take exactly and what companies could be required to pay out of pocket, however it could lead to faster and more reliable networks across Europe if implemented successfully. All eyes are now on the European Commission as they consider taking the necessary steps towards achieving their goal of a well-developed 5G infrastructure in Europe.
It is still uncertain exactly when these changes may be put into effect should they pass through the legislative process, but observers have noted that this could be just what Europe needs to stay competitive in an otherwise crowded market for technological advancement. While no official decision has been made yet, it looks as though some big tech firms may soon find themselves with a heavier burden financially if European officials decide to move forward with implementation of the 5G infrastructure fee proposal for larger companies.