The European Commission (EC) began preparing to launch a consultation on whether US tech giants should cover some of the costs of telecoms networks in the region, Reuters reported, the bloc’s latest move to address claims of an uneven playing field.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton (pictured), reportedly stated the consultation would open in Q1 2023.

In addition to exploring if big names including Google, Facebook and Amazon should contribute to operators’ networks, Breton reportedly stated the consultation will also cover potential regulation of the metaverse.

The consultation process will run for up to six months, after which the EC will submit any proposals.

European operators have long called on US tech companies to contribute to development and operation of their networks.

Telecoms industry group ETNO recently published a report noting Meta Platforms, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix now account for 56 per cent of traffic on fixed and mobile networks, but have made “little or no contribution” to development costs.

In May, EC EVP Margrethe Vestager stated work had begun regarding whether and how big tech companies should contribute to telecoms networks.

The EC is introducing the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA) as part of efforts to rein in US tech giants.