France telcos want to implement bandwidth caps on broadband users

Canadian and U.S.-based broadband providers aren't the only service providers thinking about usage based billing (UBB) as three of France's largest ISPs--SFR, France Telecom (Orange) (NYSE: FTE) and Bouygues Telecom--are all looking at how they can put caps on currently unlimited broadband use.

Similar to efforts taken by the likes of AT&T (NYSE: T), Bell Canada (NYSE: BCE), Frontier (NYSE: FTR) and Telus (Toronto: T.TO), the trio would force "power users" to pay extra fees if they go over their monthly allotted limit.

Just like the Canadian and U.S. players, the French ISP trio's argument is that implementing bandwidth caps would enable them to manage traffic flows on their respective broadband networks.

It appears that right now the UBB proposal is being driven by the large service providers, while competitive providers such as Iliad (Free) and Numericable have not said anything in support of or against the plan.  

Not surprisingly, consumer rights groups such as UFC-Que Choisir and France's telecom regulator Arcep have already protested their proposals. UFC-Que Choisir said the service provider's proposal were "unacceptable" and "unjustified," while Arcep described the plan as "bizarre."

While the proposed UBB plan would likely effect only a small portion of France's broadband users, the problem with bandwidth caps overall is it creates a perception in the consumer's mind that every action they take with their broadband connection is being controlled.

For more:
- TeleGeography has this article

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