French government slaps down Free’s anti-Google ad-blocking

The French ISP has been told by French digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin to stop blocking online ads, because she is ‘very attached’ to the open internet. However, she also hinted that she may not be entirely in favor of net neutrality.

Rewind: My favorite posts from 2012

Twitter, Google, Apple, Facebook, iPhone, Android — what’s new — dominated my writing during 2012. But there were others such as Famo.us, Kickstarter and France’s Free. Here are some of my stories from this year that I believe will have an impact technology ecosystem in 2013.

Free vs. paid: Would Twitter be better if you paid for it?

The debate continues over which model is better for social networks: free and ad-supported or paid for by users? Dalton Caldwell says the latter and is building a paid alternative to Twitter, but VC Fred Wilson argues that free is the only model that works.

Bouygues launches free Wi-Fi to challenge Free Mobile

France’s Bouygues Telecom is working with virtual hotspot network Devicescape to give its smartphone customers seamless access to 8 million open Wi-Fi access points globally, replicating – at least fractionally – one of the key differentiators Iliad’s Free Mobile has on the competition: a 4 million-node offload network.

OpenRadio changes what it means to be an ISP

The havoc that OpenFlow is wreaking in the data center may also change the way we think of ISPs, and solve the spectrum crisis. OpenRadio is a project that hopes to use OpenFlow to create pools of broadband from Wi-Fi, cellular and other networks.

Google wants to mobilize your Web site – for free

Google(s goog) is wants to bring more small websites to the mobile phone, and to help nudge those sites along it’s willing to foot the bill for a year. Google and Duda Mobile are offering free hosting and customization of Web sites for mobile browsers.

Orange customers flee to Free Mobile’s new ultra-cheap plans

Last month we reported on the wireless revolution Iliad’s Free Mobile was leading in France. Now the first casualty reports are in. France Telecom’s Orange reported on Wednesday it lost 201,000 net subscribers in a little more than a month, fleeing to Free’s ultra-cheap plans.

How France’s Free will reinvent mobile

Xavier Niel, the maverick founder of Free.fr broadband service, will redefine the mobile landscape with Free Mobile, a new approach thanks to a cutting-edge network that blends Wi-Fi, HSPA+ 3G, femtocells and its all-fiber backbone, offering unlimited voice, texting and data for cheap.