from the ain't-gonna-ride-our-pipes-for-free dept
As we've repeatedly explained (perhaps unnecessarily if you have anything resembling critical thinking skills), this reasoning is incoherent and stupid, since customers and content companies alike already pay plenty for bandwidth and infrastructure. Still, somehow Whitacre's absurd attempt to try and offload network operation costs to others went viral globally, and we've repeatedly seen overseas telcos trying to argue the same point ever since. Of course, whereas Google used to be the global telco whipping boy, we're increasingly seeing Netflix playing that role given its more vocal support of net neutrality.
It's the painfully dumb idea that just won't die. French Minister of Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin has spent the last few years with an incumbent telco bug in her ear, demanding that she force Google, Netflix and other content companies to pay some kind of a "bandwidth tax." As we've seen here in the States, Google appeared willing to (at least temporarily) go mute on net neutrality, and as Glyn has noted previously, Google France appeared willing to trample neutrality principles, allowing some degree of ISP double dipping to protect mobile handset market share.
Apparently feeling encouraged, Pellerin has ramped up her efforts for this new content company tax in order to "level the playing field" for French TV and filmmakers (read: incumbent French phone company Orange):
"France's culture minister is as keen as ever to tax tech behemoths to "level the playing field" for French TV and filmmakers. According to news reports, Fleur Pellerin plans to introduce a new tax on "the use of bandwidth", although exactly how this will be calculated is not clear...In January, the minister said she wanted a "level playing field "for French broadcasters alongside the likes of Netflix. The news was welcomed by some ISPs who want to offer so-called specialised services – basically incorporating lots more speed and bandwidth."As a general rule of thumb, I've found that almost anytime somebody claims to be interested in "leveling the playing field," they're usually busy trying to do the exact opposite. There's still no details on precisely how Pellerin's plan would work, but it's likely going to run face-first into the EU's looming net neutrality rules, which, if they're worth anything, will at the very least ban these kinds of ridiculous "troll tolls." Here in the States, most phone companies have been forced to shift their attention from ham-fisted troll tolls to more subtle, clever ways of abusing market power, whether that's interconnection, usage caps or zero rated apps.
Still, Ed Whitacre's viral meme that phone companies have the inherent, god-given right to double or triple dip is the gift that just keeps on giving.