FCC To Examine Google Voice Service

According to people familiar with the matter, the Federal Communications Commission plans to open an inquiry into Google's Voice service, looking into how the service works and whether or not the Internet giant is restricting calls. Earlier this week, a group of 20 Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who mostly represent rural areas wrote a letter to the FCC asking it to investigate Google's ability to block calls."We are formally requesting an investigation by the FCC into the nature and function of Google Inc's voice service," they wrote in the letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The FCC has already sought information from Google and AT&T.

At the heart of the inquiry are allegations that Google is blocking calls to certain numbers with high access charges such as adult chat lines and free teleconferencing. By blocking the calls, Google's expenses for the service are reduced. AT&T has complained, saying Google is violating rules that were designed to ensure phone companies will connect all calls. Google claims its phone management service isn't subject to these common carrier telephone rules because it is a free service that customers can only use if they have a traditional telephone line.

AT&T and other carriers don't like the high access charges either, but they don't have a choice: Several years ago, carriers were rebuked by the FCC for blocking such calls. The FCC has said that common-carrier telephone companies can't pick and choose which numbers they will patch through. In this case, it seems that Google wants the best of both worlds. It wants to provide a service similar to what a telephone company does, but it also wants to claim that since calls originate from the Internet, the service is exempt from landline-related rules.
Soupstyle 5 years ago

Another case of Google wanting to eat that cake they wanted.

3vi1 5 years ago

So AT&T's trying to distract everyone from the original problem: AT&T's blocking of Google Voice on the iPhone.

Unlike AT&T, Google's service is free. Also, AT&T gets government subsidies to help cover connecting to these expensive rural carriers, Google does not.

The services are not analogous; Google's not a common carrier service. AT&T's the one in the wrong here.

gibbersome 5 years ago

How much are you willing to bet the 20 Congressmen were coaxed by AT&T to file this complaint against Google?

This is a completely ridiculous charge. Google is not a network carrier and not bound by this particular law.

Soupstyle 5 years ago

I wish AT&T would just get off their asses and install the fiber optics networks that they were paid multiple times to install throughout the US and we could have less complaints from the teleco's about how limited their networks are due to copper wiring.

This will never happen though, as all our taxpayer dollars are going into some shareholder boosting black hole, and they lobby the lawmakers almost as hard as the energy and oil industries.

gibbersome 5 years ago

On a side note. I just signed up for Google wave. Since no one I know has wave yet, it's pretty pointless at the moment, lol.

realneil 5 years ago

I'll sign up too once I know it's safe from being shut down or hobbled.

johny09 5 years ago

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