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Google Businesses The Internet Technology

French Telecom Claims To Have Forced Google To Pay For Traffic 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the setting-a-precedent dept.
Dupple writes "The head of French telecoms operator Orange said on Wednesday it had been able to impose a deal on Google to compensate it for the vast amounts of traffic sent across its networks. Orange CEO Stephane Richard said on France's BFM Business TV that with 230 million clients and areas where Google could not get around its network, it had been able to reach a 'balance of forces' with the Internet search giant. Richard declined to cite the figure Google had paid Orange, but said the situation showed the importance of reaching a critical size in business. Network operators have been fuming for years that Google, with its search engine and YouTube video service, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks. An editorial piece at GigaOm says Google is abandoning its principles and giving Orange 'the incentive to demand the same from other content providers.'"
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French Telecom Claims To Have Forced Google To Pay For Traffic

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  • Makes no sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CurunirAran (2811035) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @02:54PM (#42634901)
    The Internet IS DATA. I don't get ISPs. They provide low quality service at exorbitant prices, and then complain about clients using their services.
    • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cob666 (656740) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:00PM (#42634941) Homepage
      I was under the impression that end users were paying for bandwidth they're using. Now ISPs want usage paid for by the user AND the content provider? Nice business model.
      • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:04PM (#42634971)

        Like many whores, they charge extra to get it in both ends.

      • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:10PM (#42635023)
        As a user, I pay for my cap that includes up and down. When they charge my cap on up only, then they can charge Google for their upload. Though, the terms are pretty light. Perhaps the issue is that Google isn't paying for data, but Orange is lying and Google is paying for space and power for caches (something they do do, though they prefer to not pay, as it benefits the carrier as well as Google). Without both sides talking or other more impartial description of the situation, it may be an exaggeration by one side.

        Or maybe not. PR is all about the worst lies you can get away with. The only question is, how bad are they?
        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          You may pay for that, but most people think of their internet service as being access to certain other services like YouTube. If YouTube doesn't work they get pissed off, and Virgin Media recently discovered when they broke it by trying and failing to introduce in-network proxies.

          If this story is true I'm surprised Google didn't just tell them to sod off and allow their services to be throttled into oblivion. Users would soon get fed up and start calling Orange to complain, then leaving for other ISPs that

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            The reality is the same as it always has been. Google doesn't really generate that traffic, Google's customers generate that traffic. Google's customers request the downloads and generate the uploads. This has always been about the same thing. Existing telecom wants to provide competing services to Google and of course 'ALL' the other content providers. To out compete, the Telecoms own services would be provided free data access and all competitors would have to pay for data transmission, with this cost be

        • by fgouget (925644)

          As a user, I pay for my cap that includes up and down.

          There is no data cap on ADSL connections in France. Never has and likely never will given Orange's competitor, Free, said they think data caps make no sense.

      • Now ISPs want usage paid for by the user AND the content provider? Nice business model.

        And I was under the impression that content providers were already being charged by ISPs.
        Specifically: ISPs that provide bulk rates to datacenters.

      • by fgouget (925644)

        I was under the impression that end users were paying for bandwidth they're using. Now ISPs want usage paid for by the user AND the content provider? Nice business model.

        It used to be that ISPs could arrange for the traffic at their peering points to be quite symmetrical (e.g. provide cheap hosting on your network). When that's the case both peering partners call it a wash and peering is done for free. So ISPs set the price to cover support, maintaining the network and developping some new services. But sites like YouTube changed all that. Now their traffic is asymmetrical and hosting a few more regular web site won't change a thing. So now they have to pay through the nose

        • by sjames (1099)

          The connection is still symmetrical in the only way that ever actually mattered. For every byte Google sends to Oranges network (for example), there is an Orange customer that wanted that byte and paid Orange to deliver it to them.

          The only time peering settlements should exist is where transit is involved. Other than that, it's just a matter of splitting the cost of the physical peering connection.

          • Every byte? Certainly there are bytes that make up images and sounds and text, most of them are wanted but there is a lot more that comes along with the wanted bytes.

            In some ways it is like a little game some of us play, you have something your friend wants but you have no particular use for say a cpu cooling fan. Only thing is you don't just give them the fan you give them a bunch of extra stuff along with the fan, eg the rest of the base unit containing the desired cooling fan.

            Thus a winning deal you get

    • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:02PM (#42634955) Journal

      Maybe this will work out in our favor. Perhaps it will lead me to forcing best buy to pay me for buying their products or something.

      Sarcasm aside, I completely agree. Unless Google is using some sort of peering agreement and just going through their network, all the bandwidth and everything is already paid for by the customer who requests it. There is absolutely no reason to have it paid for twice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They provide low quality service at exorbitant prices, and then complain about clients using their services.

      Yeah, no shit. I don't recall Comcast, Qwest, Charter, or Century offering any kind of quality search engine or a user generated content service such as YouTube. I'm not praising Google for their services, but if any is to be given, Google has earned more than any of the ISPs I've suffered.

    • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:26PM (#42635109) Homepage

      ". They provide low quality service at exorbitant prices, and then complain about clients using their services."

      From the article:

      ... areas where Google could not get around its network ..

      It sounds like they are not talking about traffic that goes from Google to their customers, but rather traffic that passes through their network on its way to a customer of another provider. If this is the case, then the situation is a little bit different than the "their customers already paid them for the bandwidth" argument. I'm not saying that Orange is in the right; merely that without more information I don't think anyone could make that determination.

      • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:30PM (#42635125)
        Looks like Google is simply paying for transit to another networks. Nothing to see here, move along.
      • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:43PM (#42635183) Homepage Journal
        Then shouldn't Orange have a contract with that 'other provider' to act as either (a) a customer or (b) a push-pull arrangement, like big top-tier American companies do?
      • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fgouget (925644) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @09:44PM (#42636745)

        From the article:

        ... areas where Google could not get around its network ..

        This is clearer in the French interview [universfreebox.com]. What Stephane Richard said is that they leveraged the fact that Orange is a major player in many countries, particularly in African countries, where Google has been looking for some kind of deal with them. So they made clear to Google that it wouldn't get those deal if they couldn't also come to some kind of agreement on the YouTube issue.

      • Re:Makes no sense. (Score:5, Informative)

        by arkhan_jg (618674) on Sunday January 20, 2013 @07:09AM (#42638357)

        It's actually a peering fight [techdirt.com] between cogent and france telecom; cogent being google's carrier, with google being the hostage and orange being france telecom's consumer arm.

        Basically youtube (and streaming tf1, a popular french tv channel) are getting throttled because there's not enough capacity on the peering links between FT and cogent. Since much more traffic goes from cogent to FT, FT want more money to carry it. Note, this is not unusual in the peering world. Where they agree to carry each others traffic (because it's roughly equal) then they do it for free i.e. peering. When one party sends much more traffic, then sender pays for transit is common - after all, the receiving party is the one that has to pay for more equipment to carry the traffic, often including more 'last mile' infrastructure for that data to actually go to, or big pipes to other networks the transiting party needs access to.

        In this case, FT is saying they want more money from cogent for transit, i.e. for all the google traffic - not money from google directly, but from their carrier; and because they have exclusive access to many households because they own and maintain the physical phone lines and exchange infrastructure, cogent can't just peer with someone else and route round FT (many french ISP's have to pay to use the FT infrastructure even though they're competitors to orange, in a similar way that a lot of British ISP's use BT lines and exchanges for DSL). If Cogent don't cough up more cash for transit to, then google traffic will continue to get throttled along with other cogent traffic at the boundary to FT's network.

        The reporting on this has been woeful though, confusing the 'receiver pays' model of end users, the 'sender pays' model of big transit networks, and of course google with cogent, and France Telecom with orange.

        • Finally, the "more information" we needed, which when analyzed properly amount to "nothing to see hear with regard to Google ... move along". Thanks for the clarification!
    • In this posting, below [slashdot.org], Animats points to an article [fiercetelecom.com] that says it's really a peering fight between Orange and Cogent, an ISP that Google uses for transit. More detail in techdirt [techdirt.com]. At least 90% of the time, if you see an article about "ISP Peering Fight", Cogent is one of the players. They're really big, they're really cheap, and they sell lots of bandwidth to content providers. They're pretty much the bottom of Tier 1 - they'd like to get free peering from all the other Tier 1 providers, but that doesn

    • by fgouget (925644)

      The Internet IS DATA. I don't get ISPs. They provide low quality service at exorbitant prices, and then complain about clients using their services.

      The quality and price are not so bad. What's wrong with paying $50 [wikipedia.org] for as much bandwidth as your phone line supports (up to 25Mbps); no data cap; a fixed IPv4 address; IPv6; unlimited phone calls to France and 100+ other countries, including the US, Canada and most of Europe; unlimited phone calls to French cellphones (which you normally have to pay for otherwise); a SIP phone line if you wish; a fax line; millions of WiFi hotspots; a box [wikipedia.org] that's a Blu-Ray drive; lets you watch 100+ free TV channels; free an

  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @02:55PM (#42634909)

    "Network operators have been fuming for years that Google, with its search engine and YouTube video service, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks."

    Are these the same operators who make users pay for the bandwidth consumed by the YT videos the users view as part of their ISP contracts? So they want to be paid twice for the traffic, or what?

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      Yes, they want to be paid twice for the traffic. Who wouldn't want to be paid twice for the same thing if you could? Orange discovered they had enough leverage on Google that they could, so they did.

      • by meerling (1487879)
        True, but I wonder if the 'payment' was actually in monopoly money, or old confederate bills. :)

        For their next trick, they'll try to use this unspecified payment for leverage to get the government to mandate a usage tax payable to themselves.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Yes. Our biggest ISP tried that when Netflix launched, that they should pay the ISP for all the traffic they were sending. Netflix's reply was (paraphrased) "How about I give you the finger and if you want to keep your customers, deliver our videos." From what I understood it was rather effective, wasn't the first time they've tried and I'm sure it won't be the last but they've been shot down in flames every time.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        The BBC did that too. They threatened to introduce a traffic light system for iPlayer, where every ISP would get a green, amber or red light showing if they could support the service or not. ISPs knew their customers would not accept any excuse as to why iPlayer was broken when it worked fine with other ISPs, so they caved pretty much immediately.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @02:56PM (#42634917) Homepage

    Congratulations, French internet users; pretty soon you should see your internet bill lowered!
    Atleast... I'm assuming Orange isn't going to charge twice for the same traffic.

  • Google Fiber (Score:5, Insightful)

    by areusche (1297613) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @02:58PM (#42634927)
    It's crap like this that I bet is pushing Google to roll out their own fiber. With crap like this and the entrenched nature of ISPs and media companies, I look forward to the day Google's vast walled garden pushes out players like this. I'd rather be in a Google Garden than a Comcast, Orange, or worse. Too bad competition isn't fostered taking one turd for another.
  • Network operators have been fuming for years that Google, with its search engine and YouTube video service, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks.

    Isn't it the ISP's *customers* that are using Google and YouTube? Don't those customers pay the ISPs, who, if not one-in-the-same, pay the network operators and any (negotiated) inter-connection fees? Seems the ISP/network operators just want in on a little double-dipping. Perhaps I'm naive, but aren't they greedy enough?

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:06PM (#42634987) Homepage

    Network operators have been fuming for years that Google, with its search engine and YouTube video service, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks.

    I remember when the US government turned over the internet backbone to the telecos. The deal was they would get the infrastructure in exchange for upgrading the network and the telecos were all about that deal, for a few years. Then AT&T started making noise about places like Google not paying for "their" pipe.

    If it's that unprofitable, give it back to the government or sell it. Get out of the network business if it's that hard. Notice that idea never comes up.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      I think it's time the government took the pipes back. These greedy bastards are making government mismanagement look more and more palatable. It's a fucked choice between government utility or greedy fucking money grubbing bastards.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:06PM (#42634991)
    Shame on Google if it is true. I pay my ISP for the traffic that I use (and with AT&T even my land line is capped). Google should have said "fine, we will not let your customers access our data" and then waited to see how the French ISPs paying customers reacted. After all, the users are going to use some form of search engine, it really doesn't affect the ISPs traffic if they use Google or Ask or Yahoo or the more evil bing. They just saw Google as a company who depends on providing a free service to the ISPs users to generate revenue and decided that they could bully them.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Shame on Google if it is true.

      Shame on you for reading Slashdot, and all the inflamatory and trolling article summaries this place has turned in to.

      CmdrTaco knew what was coming after /.'s change of ownership before us. We should all follow his good example and get the hell out of here.

      I recomend ArsTechnica, PopularScience, and HackerNews. None of which has a good discussion forums, but I'm open to suggestions for others.

  • Users pay for the bandwidth already. Orange should just charge all content providers to send data across their network and see how many users they can hold on to.

  • Full of shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mullen (14656) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:20PM (#42635079)

    The CEO of Orange is full of shit. There is no way that Google or any other provider would pay a carrier a "fee", since if they did, EVERYONE would start charging Google.

    Google is not dumb, they know when they pay out the first carrier, they will be paying out a lot of other carriers. I am really sure that Google would cut off France (or whom ever Orange carrier for) rather than give in. Google not only would have the users on their side (You know, they PAY for Internet), but also the local governments and every other business out there. Orange is just blowing smoke up people's asses on this one.

    • Re:Full of shit (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:39PM (#42635163)
      the orange ceo may be trying to start and argument about it, because the decisions becomes what you argue about. He may be lying on purpose to try and eventually really get paid by Google.
    • by jbo5112 (154963)

      Google has cut off companies before. This market is large enough that it could cause a culture shift away from Google.

    • The CEO of Orange is full of shit.

      Not really surprising. As a former customer of their UK arm, I can attest that Orange is shit. They're probably trying to gouge Google because of all the money they're losing from their actual customers leaving and not coming back.

    • by DeSigna (522207)

      It sounds like a peering arrangement turning into transit. There was a comment earlier about extra detail from French language reports on this story; Google is trying to break into certain African markets that Orange have a large presence in. Orange, like many large carriers, is having a hissy fit over the traffic volume coming from Google services. This would be an olive branch from Google being used as a back-scratcher.

      It is not uncommon for Google to co-lo equipment and caches in the datacentres of larg

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:25PM (#42635103) Homepage

    It's Orange's customers. Surely Orange could to block them from Google. That would reduce Orange's traffic, would it not?

    • And now I see that it is actually a peering dispute. Both the article and the Slashdot summary are, as usual, misleading.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:37PM (#42635153) Homepage

    For a less clueless article, see "France Telecom and Google entangled in peering fight". [fiercetelecom.com]

    • by mysticalreaper (93971) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @04:46PM (#42635413)

      Mod up please. This is much more reliable that the shrill /. summary, and the poorly informed article.

      A peering dispute is totally conceivable, it's happened many times in the past between ISPs. Google paying a consumer network fees to carry traffic has *never* happenend. The former is much more likely.

    • Peering dispute? Why? Just blackhole the packets! FT is presumably in control of their routers -- they do not need to allow pass-thru.

      Of course customers will scream, and loud, but that is the choice -- charge for the traffic or live with the losses. The french probably don't want to, and think they can lean on GOOG who can and should give 'em the run-around. FT probably has the only fiber to Corsica and the Quai d'Orsay (English Whitehall, American Foggy Bottom) don't want to upset the natives. So an

      • Peering dispute? Why?

        Peering is a game of mutual benefit. Two companies agree to exchange traffic because despite being rivals they believe the exchange will benefit both sides. If either side belives they are not benefiting from the agreement then the peering arrangement may be terminated.

        Due to the way internet routing works the receiving peer tends to bear most of the cost of moving data around geograpically. As such many networks are reluctant to free-peer with "outbound-heavy" networks. It sounds like cogent is very conent

  • Google doesn't generate traffic, people visiting Google generate traffic! They clearly have the wrong perspective.
  • Since we are denied any real details other than what some ceo is spewing for public consumption it seems pointless to draw any conclusions at this point.

    On the more general problem of service provider entitlements from those who give their customers what they want this seems to me to be all about lack of effective competition, rise of the mega ISP and total ownage of the last mile.

    Allowing ISPs to get big, fat and lazy leads to inflated sense of entitlement and piss poor value for consumers.

    The french and m

  • absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by excelsior_gr (969383) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @05:19PM (#42635577)

    This story is absurd any way you look at it.
    First of all, the telecom's customers already paid them for the traffic. The telecom should shut up and deliver their product already (with the promised bandwidth).
    Second, Google should just ignore them. What will the telecom do? Block Google? Good luck with that. I would be surprised if they'd have any customers left by the end of the month.
    Third, if Google pays up, suddenly all telecoms around the globe will come asking for money. Nobody in their right mind would succumb to such an absurd demand from some telecom.

  • Google (among other content providers), is the reason why anyone even gets Internet access. Imagine if Cable companies' TV service worked that way, and they attempted to charge the cable channels for access to their US households. How fast would their service fall apart? The Internet pipe I get from a telecom is WORTHLESS without Google, YouTube, Netflix and all those other services. They should be glad Google doesn't charge THEM for access to Google.
  • Far more likely Orange is selling a proxy cache or something similar to speed up Google's access.
  • They should get their compensation from their own customers for a service of getting those customer to the internet Customers using more bandwidth? Make those customers pay more. Problem solved.

    And so they can understand:

    Ils devraient recevoir leur rémunération de leurs propres clients pour un service à la clientèle de se ceux à l'internet. Les clients qui utilisent plus de bande passante? Rendre ces clients paient plus. Le problème est résolu.

  • The customer pays for data and that is all the ISP is for. We don't need them to give us "free" things like email, search, VOIP, hosting, filtering or anything else we can get for free or as much as we want to pay. All they need to give us is a router with a working external IP address. If people want a "one stop shop" they can tell the ISP and they can pay extra. So instead, they charge for stuff I don't want, give a poor connection, try to control my browsing and want to charge websites for what I have
  • Free (which is another French ISP) asked for the same a while ago. Google refused.
    Free decided to block Google ads automatically for all its customers in retaliation.

    This has led politics to question the issue and to consider enacting laws. Unfortunately, politicians are clueless about technology, and all they see is making the big American company pay the French companies.

    • by sir-gold (949031)

      This seems to be a general theme for France, trying to find new ways to force American companies to just "give" money to French companies/French government, in order to prop up their failing economy.

      Just like forcing American companies to pay French income tax, even if they have no offices in France

  • Everybody who connects to the Internet already pays for their bandwidth to the ISP, effectively in proportion to what they use. If there is a lot of traffic coming from Google, then both Orange's customers pay for their individual usage, and Google pays wherever they hook up to the Internet. At some level, Orange has a peering arrangement, and if there are traffic imbalances, they negotiate with their partners, who then pass on the cost to Google and their customers. Trying to extort additional payments fro

  • It's the users who are generating the traffic, not Google. Instead of offering to let them double-dip I would have blocked all of their users with a static page that explained why they were being blocked and a suggesting to try another ISP. It's not like Google needs to kiss this ISPs ass to stay in business.

    Second option I would make use of Google Wallet to make the users pay for Google use with an explanation yes, only the users on that ISP have to pay for what's free to everyone else, if they don't lik

  • The only thing Google has to do is to make sure that content to French Telecom's customer has to go through TLMC cache servers inside FT network.

    the last mile cache [fredan.se]

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