France continues to skirt around Net Neutrality legislation


Net-NeutralityThe French government held a round table today at Bercy which included Fleur Pellerin, “Internet Minister.” The round table was meant to address the French government’s long-standing stance on Net Neutrality, which has been “neutral” insofar as they’ve done nothing concrete to stop ISPs. The issue has been heightened after ISP Free turned on an opt-out ad blocker (for Google properties) at the beginning of the year, which triggered debates on what ISPs should and shouldn’t be able to do.

During the round table, it became clear that no immediate changes would take place, as the administration declared that it would ask CNNum (National digital council) to study the issue (yet again) and return a decision. The only problem is that the CNNum, originally created by former President Sarkozy, was all-but disbanded when Hollande arrived (almost every member resigned due to changes in how members would be added to the council). The new members of the CNNum will be announced this Friday, and so inaction seems to be the word of the day, with the twitterverse tweeting #NetNeut with their dismal impressions of the round table.

This news of continued inaction comes two years after the government’s report on Net Neutrality determined that there was already evidence of ISPs overstepping their boudaries, according to the Quadrature du Net, France’s Net Neutralilty group. Quadrature du Net advocate Jeremie Zimmerman seemed quite upset with the round table discusion, and he may have good reason. Sensing that Pellerin’s inaction is almost strategic, posting[fr] today that the government’s lack of concrete action, despite unanymous agreement that there is a problem, is tantamount to backing the ISPs, who continue to restrict access a truly open web to users in France.


Zimmerman notes that the report which came out two years ago displayed evidence that Bouygues, Free, and SFR had been restricting access at various levels.