AT&T Won't Let the FCC Let Google Be - The UpStream

AT&T Won't Let the FCC Let Google Be

posted Saturday Sep 26, 2009 by Jon Wurm

AT&T Won't Let the FCC Let Google Be

Google and AT&T have been at odds for a while now. It all started with Apple allegedly rejecting the Google Voice app because it would allow AT&T landline customers to make free long distance calls but AT&T denies this allegation. Things went a step further when AT&T wrote a letter to the FCC saying that they should investigate Google because Google Voice violates federal rules set in place by the FCC in 2007 that restricts phone companies from blocking consumer calls to adult chat lines and conference call services because consumers have the right to choose who they call.

This issue also relates to net neutrality which the FCC requires so that consumers are able to use the internet in any way. Google says that the rule doesn't apply to them because in order to use Google Voice the consumer would have to have another phone service already. They also feel like by doing so they are protecting customers from high access fees. On a side note AT&T and other phone companies do not think the FCC should be able to regulate the industry because the companies have invested so much money building their communications networks.

I think the reason why AT&T is so up in arms about this is because it puts them at a huge disadvantage to remain competitive with Google. Since they cannot block calls per the FCC there is no way for them to control the high access fees they incur ultimately driving up the cost of the service. Google may be able to get away with it though since Google Voice is not a replacement for an existing phone service but rather a supplement to it. I guess it depends on how net neutrality is defined. What do you think?

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