Digital Minister opposes digital group levy for broadband expansion

Broadband expansion: Digital Minister Wissing against a levy for digital groups

The Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Volker Wissing, opposes the idea of requiring large digital companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Meta to share the costs for the expansion of telecommunications networks in the EU. Despite the EU wanting these companies to contribute to the expenses for gigabit internet connections, Wissing sees the free and open Internet as a valuable asset that needs to be preserved. He opposes interventions that could cause complications and negatively affect Germany as a business location.

The EU aims to provide all households and companies with gigabit internet connections by 2030. To keep this expansion affordable, the EU wants large digital companies to share the expenses and impose a levy on them. However, Deutsche Telekom is among those who demand this “fair share” or “reasonable share,” and Wissing opposes it. He fears that small companies, in particular, will be at a disadvantage, which will ultimately lead to higher costs for customers. Wissing sees no justification for market intervention, and therefore, does not see the need for regulation.

Consumer protection groups rejected the EU project in May, citing that the negative consequences would be immediate and far-reaching. If a mechanism for direct payments to telecom providers is put into effect, it would affect not only European companies but also consumers. The German Federal Ministry of Transport also had a critical attitude towards the plans a few months earlier, describing them as “compulsory submission.”

In summary, Wissing opposes the levy imposed on large digital companies to share the costs for the expansion of telecommunications networks in the EU. He believes that it could lead to complications, negatively affect small companies, and raise costs for customers. Meanwhile, consumer protection groups and other organizations have also rejected the proposal, citing negative consequences for European companies and consumers alike.

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