French-based ISP Orange is charging Google to send data over its network

by: Joe HindyJanuary 20, 2013

It appears as though French based ISP Orange is finally getting the justice it believes it deserves. Over the last several weeks, an ongoing battle has been going on between Orange and Google. The dispute being that Google used too much data on Orange’s network and, thus, had to pay for it. With the help of the French government, Google was forced to comply.

The biggest part of the problem can be summed up by Orange CEO Stephane Richard. According to Richard, Google was responsible for 50% of Orange’s traffic. Thus, they asked that Google pay their share. After weeks of negotiation, a deal was made. There are no details as to how much Orange got in the deal.

Things could be getting worse for the Mountain View company in France and Germany as well. As AFP reports, French government has threatened to impose a Google tax if things can’t be worked out with local media sources. This is due to Google allegedly making a lot of advertisement money by referencing local media online.

So Orange is getting compensation and local media is after Google too. Anyone else?

Sadly, yes there are more. Free, another ISP based in France, installed ad blocking software on their servers. This prevented Google from making any money. That isn’t happening anymore, though, as the French government stepped in on Google’s behalf.

In France, it appears as though the search giant does not have a lot of friends. It can be somewhat understandable as Google does use a lot of data there. They also make a lot of ad money. However, it’s debatable on whether it’s fair that the search giant pay for delivering content to Orange subscribers. After all, if there was no Google allowed on Orange, how many people would realistically stay on Orange’s network? Google being forced to pay local media is a little off as well. Let us know what you think about all this.

  • cycad007

    Google…just block Orange and watch them lose their customers as they switch to more Google-friendly ISPs. Seriously…their *CUSTOMERS* want to use Google services and pay for it already. Why should Google pay/subsidize Orange’s data traffic?

  • Chrisjan Botha

    Orange opened up an online shop here in South Africa – maybe we should not buy from them then?

  • Yes google should block orange and we the customers should boycot orange!!!

  • MasterMuffin

    Another fruit gone mad… :D

    • HellG

      haha sir you won the internet, thanks for making my day :)

      • MasterMuffin


  • Hrishi

    This is stupid…. I believe when you go to google website you decided to view advertisement. Otherwise don’t use google.

  • Doug Rector

    The logic is off – either everyone should pay or no one should pay. If Google wasn’t there the traffic would be split between other search engines. Google must not have a very good legal team in France.

    • mena

      100+ to your answer.

  • BlackHF

    I’m french and I’m not thinking like you are. Why? Because the traffic is a big part of the costs of the connexions between ISP & google. if google make a lot of proffits by adverts it seems logical that google should participate in the good functionning of the connexions ! I’m currently a customer with the Free ISP and I got some desagreaments using youtbe at peak while I usually download @ 14mb!
    And to answer the end of the article, all french ISP want to instore this kind of “google tax” So google can’t “just block orange” you know why? Because orange is 50% of french internet users! Which means more than 1 billion € of ad by years guys! Just block orange ok, but all ISP will follow orange and the US company will no more earn in France. That’s not so easy. How can you analize such a subject without knowing what’s really behind.
    Moreover, french have the lowest prices among the high developed country. For example Free mobile sms + mms + phone calls (to mobiles in france + canada + usa + to fixes in 50 countries) illimited + 3go full bandwith H+ = 15€ ! The isp also have to provide us optical fiber for free (every french one by one) & have paid more than 4 billions € to buy 4G licences! They can’t just pay indefinitely

    • JosephHindy

      Google doesn’t charge end users for anything. You use YouTube for free, you use Gmail for free, you use Google Translate for free, you use Google+ for free, you use Google Search for free.

      But Google owes you money because everyone’s using these free of charge services? It’s the unwritten rule of the internet. You watch the ads and “pay your dues” for the free services Google is providing for you. Google doesn’t owe anyone money because everyone enjoys their free services. If ISPs and mobile companies aren’t making enough, it’s because you guys don’t pay enough for it. You can’t give out free (or low cost) internet and expect the whole world to pay for it. Why is an American company supporting your internet service providers? Why aren’t they supporting themselves? That’s the question that isn’t answered here. I get that Google “sends” a lot of stuff over the web…but that’s only because so many people are requesting it. Data doesn’t get sent if it’s not first requested, so you guys asked Google to send that data…and now you expect them to pay for data you requested they send? I’m sorry sir, but that doesn’t make any sense to me :( I’m sorry.

      • tBs_Battousai

        The French believe everyone owes them something, that’s just they way they are, it’s the same with everything from Tech to farming…

        I would have thought it illegal to charge twice for the same data…

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I don’t quite understand.. Is Orange singling out Google for payment? Are they after any other companies/users for the remaining 50% of the costs? Otherwise it seems rather biased on Orange’s part. Perhaps Orange feels that the user backlash from blocking Google ads and services for ‘non-payment’ is worse than raising the dust and asking Google to pay. You state that the ISP have to provide free optical fiber. Isn’t that due to France’s laws/regulations? I find it inequitable that Google would be forced to pay for the lack in ISP income resulting from decisions of French lawmakers. Seems that would be akin to forcing a socialist agenda on any company doing business in France.

      On the other hand, the deal that Google makes with Orange may simply pass the cost on to French advertisers on Google properties.

  • emocrazy

    well, yes.. Google should just block them. why? because if google really has to pay that tax then other ISPs will do the same as well which doesn’t make sense

  • Chris Harpner

    “It can be somewhat understandable as Google does use a lot of data there.”

    No. Google uses ZERO of their data. Their CUSTOMERS use their data. What their customers choose to load is the customer’s choice. It is on demand by the customers themselves. Google simply responds to the customers’ requests.

    • JosephHindy

      If Orange users are getting Google sites to load, that means Google sent it through Orange’s network to Orange’s customers, so yes they do use data. The issue isn’t that Google is using Orange’s data, it’s that Orange is forcing Google to pay for their customers using Google, which is the absurdity here.

  • Michael Lee

    I decided to go watch a video today on YouTube. I feel my ISP needs compensation for all the gigabytes I decided to use up while watching HD videos. Because it’s obviously Google’s fault, not mine.

    • Jon E

      I just hope that was sarcasm :)

  • So Orange charges its customer for using its network and then charges Google for ‘using’ the same data. Surely this second charge should be refunded to the customer.

    I pretty sure it won’t be and will either be kept by Orange or shared with the Government. Google should boycott Orange and France until they stop this nonsense. Another bit of EU inspired rubbish. Vote UKIP

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I think Google will simply pass on the costs to French advertisers to make up the expense. The advertisers will just have to deal with the government to make changes.

  • Jon E

    It comes down to taxes, Google evade taxes like any other big corporation and thus governments have a target on their backs (rightly so). If google was a decent fair tax paying company then the government would have worked differently – now if only the’d set their targets on Amazon and crapple.

  • Shanos

    To the french user that feels its justified as he gets free optical broadband and cheap calls sms etc… I say hopefully instead of orange and the goverment trying to tear google a new a hole and charge them for it… They should simply charge you the french public a proper amount that isinline with the rest of the EU so they can support their own business.
    We are all in a poor economy with the UK being one of the companies that has the biggest austerity cuts in place, why? So that we as a country can not only try and get our country back on track… And also to contribute/bail out those countries that expect every one else to suffer so they dont have to.
    Its like the french housing market, the french complained that they were priced out of buying a home by those evil brits that pushed up prices on rural villages, the reality being that the french rubbed their collective hands together and laughed heartly at the crazy english that paid well over the odds for their houses and lined the pockets of those that had to be bribed… Now the bubble has burst the prperties are next to worthless and the. French will get them back for next to nothing.
    Viva la revoloution (as long as your not paying for it!)
    P.s i have mentioned france a few times here… I wonder if i will get billed by them for it?

  • tBs_Battousai

    Hence I dropped Orange and am now on GiffGaff, they just want to be paid twice for the same data, once by the customer and again by Google…

  • As long as google continues to steal money from taxpayers around the world they should be treated as the criminals they are.

  • mr spence

    Has anyone else been charged via there phone company for going to a Web Page, I was charged 3e85 for a weather station used to look at the local weather, this can not be right?