The telecom operators succeed in imposing a cap on the tax for fixed Internet networks.

For years, telecom operators have criticized the taxation in the sector. One of their main concerns is the « fixed flat-rate corporate tax (Ifer) » which is a tax on fixed Internet networks (ADSL and fiber). They argue that the bill is too high. In 2021, Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom, and Free paid 381 million euros. According to our information, this amount will be 357 million euros in 2022. It is expected to reach 358 million euros this year and 365 million euros in 2024.

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However, this amount is expected to skyrocket, which worries the operators. Since 2019, these operators have been exempt from fixed Ifer for new fiber networks until 2024. The imminent inclusion of fiber networks, which now cover over 80% of the population, promises to significantly increase the bill.

Aucune contrepartie

According to the newspaper Les Echos, the government is considering capping the fixed Ifer at 400 million euros from 2024. This measure still needs to be voted on in Parliament. According to our information, no counterpart has been requested from the operators. The government, which has not responded to our requests, has likely been influenced by lobbying from the sector. Telecom operators continue to criticize a taxation that increases as they deploy networks, in a context where investments are becoming more expensive due to inflation and rising energy costs.

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For these companies, this fixed Ifer ceiling was a necessity in order to « facilitate fiber deployments and decommissioning of copper [used for ADSL, editor’s note], » a sector leader confides. However, there is no question of popping the champagne. Firstly, because this ceiling « is not guaranteed, as the project must go through a vote in Parliament. » Secondly, because, according to him, operators will continue to « pay a fortune every year, » this same source argues. « It’s a cap, not a discount, » he adds.

Une décision « surprenante » pour les collectivités

However, this government decision is already causing discontent. The Avicca, which represents the communities involved in digital technology, does not appreciate the maneuver. Patrick Chaize, its president and also a senator from Ain (LR), describes it as « surprising ». He believes that concessions should have been requested from the operators, particularly regarding fiber deployment.

L’Avicca, tout comme l’Arcep, le régulateur du secteur, déplore que les opérateurs lèvent depuis des mois le pied sur leurs investissements dans cette technologie. Au rythme actuel, beaucoup estiment que la promesse d’Emmanuel Macron d’apporter la fibre à tous les Français d’ici à 2025 ne sera jamais tenue.

Pierre Manière