'Google should pay to use French web'

France Telecom says big websites that generate a lot of traffic should help pay for maintaining the network

POPULAR websites such as Google, Facebook and YouTube should be made to pay for the amount of traffic they generate in France, France Telecom has suggested.

The telecoms operator said it was only fair that Google and other big content providers that use up a lot of bandwidth should pay some of the cost of maintaining and upgrading the network.

Director-general Stéphane Richard said France Telecom was investing heavily in improving the internet infrastructure in France and had a 10 per cent operating margin, while Google made no contribution and had an operating margin of about 33 per cent.

He singled out video-sharing website YouTube, which he said hosted the equivalent of 2,000 years of clips and consumes a large amount of bandwidth.

Mr Richard told a telecoms industry conference in Montpellier that there needed to be "a billing system at the heart of the internet whereby the big traffic-generators must support the costs of the network".

He said: "Using the network should be subject to a charge. Those who generate a lot of traffic should contribute according to the traffic they generate."