Mobile industry calls for large content streaming companies to contribute to infrastructure deployment costs received a boost this week as European politicians indicated support as part of a broader vote on competition policy.

A clear majority of MEPs backed a broader competition policy proposal in a vote held on 13 June. The plan covers various aspects as part of a European Union digital strategy, one of which calls for the creation of a policy framework covering contributions by so-called large traffic generators.

In its proposal, the European Parliament explained ensuring the economic viability of telecom networks is “essential” to meeting the bloc’s digital goals for 2030, but also emphasised the need to protect net neutrality.

It was voted for by 428 MEPs compared with 147 against and 55 which abstained.

The so-called fair share debate became a hot topic during MWC23 Barcelona, when several European operator chiefs highlighted a squeeze on their earnings at a time of growing traffic.

Content players including Netflix and Meta Platforms have hit back, claiming they have contributed to network costs in other ways and even challenging the assertion these are rising given improvements in the efficiency of infrastructure.

MEPs could also find themselves in opposition with the communications ministers of EU member states, which reportedly called for an investigation into the need for a levy or rejected the plan outright during a recent meeting with Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market.