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French provider Free gives adverts their freedom once more
Tuesday 08 January 2013 15:48:57 by Andrew Ferguson

While the debating about revenue and net neutrality is far from concluded the Digital Economy minister in France has managed to secure agreement by Free that it will turn off the ad-blocking.

The blocking of adverts only surfaced last week after a firmware update to customers routers on the Free ADSL service and while an agreement has been reached it remains to be seen how this will be implemented, i.e. will the feature be removed with another firmware update, or just defaulted to off. Defaulting to off will leave customers with the option of turning back on ad-blocking if they make the personal choice to do so.

The ease with which a major provider can decide to block a service when it wants to has wider implications beyond France, particularly with the ongoing debates over site blocking for copyright infringement and parental controls. For those websites where the sole income is from advertising there will also be questions asked as to how vulnerable the model is to other actions like what Free carried out.

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