For a short time, a major French Internet service provider (ISP) was blocking online ads from companies like Google. However, the French government has stepped in and said the ISP must not censor the Web.
Eric Pfanner with The New York Times reported, "The French government on Monday ordered a major Internet service provider to stop blocking online advertisements, saying the company had no right to edit the contents of the Web for its users. Fleur Pellerin, the minister for the digital economy, said she had persuaded the service provider, Free, to restore full access after meetings with French online publishing and advertising groups, which had complained about a loss of revenue."
Jamey Keaten with The Associate Press added, "Speaking to reporters at the Finance Ministry afterward, Pellerin said Free — which is No. 2 to France Telecom's Orange in the French market — had agreed to abandon the 'unacceptable' policy during the day, saying 'no actor can jeopardize the digital ecosystem in a unilateral way.'"
TechNewsWorld's David Vranicar explained, "Free, a French telecommunications company with more than 5 million users, had said it would allow its customers to block online advertising. Google, the world leader in online advertising, was mum about Free's move, which 'raised alarm among companies' that subsist off of paid advertisements."
According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Marie Mawad, "The French government will look into making Internet companies including Google Inc. (GOOG) pay for the burden they place on telecommunications networks, Technology Minister Fleur Pellerin said. Web companies generate traffic without having to invest in the infrastructure that carries it, Pellerin said today."