French force Google to pay for traffic

While the rest of the world has been fighting against a two tiered internet, it appears that in France, Google has surrendered.

The head of French telecoms operator Orange said that it has managed to screw cash out of Google to compensate it for the vast amounts of traffic sent across its networks.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard said that with 230 million clients and areas where Google could not get around its network, the search engine had been forced to come to terms.  What this sounds like to us is an anti-trust activity which Orange would be better off keeping its mouth shut about, but it seems that the telco can’t help but brag.

Richard has not said how much Google had paid Orange, but said the situation showed the importance of reaching a critical size in business.  In other words, Orange has a monopoly over certain traffic and Google has to do what it is told.

While network operators have been muttering that Google, with its search engine and YouTube, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks, many of them will think that it is unfair Orange gets a slice of the pie and they don’t.

Richard put Google traffic over Orange’s internet networks at around half. Of course that does mean it gets to be paid twice for the traffic.  Once by the user and once by Google – a nice little earner if you have a monopoly and can enforce it.

However, Google is unlikely to receive any support from the government.  France and Germany are considering imposing compensation schemes on Google to defend its failing newspaper industry and Big Media.

French President Francois Hollande warned Google that his government would legislate a so-called Google tax if the company doesn’t reach a deal with French media companies.