Chief executives of 20 groups including BT, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica have signed an open letter to Brussels saying that technology companies that "benefit most" from telecoms infrastructure and drive traffic growth should contribute more to costs.
The letter will be sent to the European Commission and members of the European Parliament.
"Future investments are under serious pressure and regulatory action is needed to secure them," they warned. "A fair and proportionate contribution from the largest traffic generators towards the costs of network infrastructure should form the basis of a new approach."
They added that regulators need to take action to help secure future investment, with telecoms groups having to spend billions to support the rollout of 5G and upgrade to full-fibre networks.
Signatories included Timotheus Hottges at Deutsche Telekom, Christel Heydemann at Orange, Jose Mara Alvarez-Pallete at Telefonica and Pietro Labriola at Telecom Italia. It was supported by outgoing BT chief executive Philip Jansen, his successor Allison Kirkby, who is chief executive at Telia, as well as Vodafone's chief executive Margherita Della Valle.
They suggested that a payment mechanism might only make demands on "the very largest traffic generators" with a focus on "accountability and transparency on contributions...so that operators invest directly into Europe's digital infrastructure."
Of course, what this means is the development of a two-tiered internet where bigger tech companies have to pay more for their connection to the Telcos. Big Tech companies will pass the increased cost onto ordinary people. The only people who will profit more are the telcos and ordinary people will have to pay twice.
The argument was tried in the US where the Telcos have a monopoly and the ability to buy politicians. The EU coms market is far more competitive and buying politicians frowned on.