France is investigating ways to squeeze more money out of large web companies to offset the costs of local Internet providers' bandwidth usage.
Following a recent incident in which French Internet service provider Free attempted to block ads sold by search giant Google, the government is furthering its efforts to strengthen telecommunication regulations in the country.
French technology minister Fleur Pellerin is at the forefront of the crusade, the Wall Street Journal reported, aiming to ensure that big businesses like Google pay to help maintain high-speed networks. The US company does not currently pay the ISPs that run its sites like YouTube, which consumes massive amounts of bandwidth with each viewing of "Gangnam Style" (see image, top).
"In coming years, with the arrival of connected TV, Google TV, Apple TV and Amazon TV, there's going to be more and more massive bandwidth consumption, and the question is who will pay for the necessary investments," Pellerin told WSJ.
Free's advertisement blockade was short-lived — overturned Monday by the government, which said the company's methods were not acceptable — but sparked a larger campaign to improve existing communication laws.
Google believes it has done its part, the Journal said, already paying billions of dollars each year for the bandwidth it uses to reach global customers — either through private deals with third-party content delivery networks, or directly with ISPs. The search giant's universal features also serve as an incentive for customers to subscribe to high-speed service in the first place, it has argued.
Google France declined to comment.