FCC: Google Explain Yourself - The UpStream

FCC: Google Explain Yourself

posted Sunday Oct 11, 2009 by Jon Wurm

FCC: Google Explain Yourself

The staff here at PLuGHiTz Live! Radio has been following the events in this love circle between Apple, AT&T and Google for a while now. Since we were at Florida's Animation Supercon last weekend here's a short recap of what's been going on.

It all started with Apple "denying" the Google Voice application but Apple denies denying the app saying that it's still undergoing the review process because it duplicates features already available on the iPhone, which has been continuing for months now. So Google and Apple got the FCC involved to hopefully reach a conclusion. Well, while the tattle tailing and name calling was being mediated by the FCC the plot began to thicken. AT&T wasn't as innocent in all of this as everyone might think. They don't like the Google Voice app for a variety of reasons. Mostly they think Google Voice has an unfair competitive advantage over their services because Google Voice can block numbers and services like adult chat lines and conference calling services that generate high connection fees driving up traditional phone carriers costs. They are not able to block these services due to new regulations set in place by the FCC in 2007 stating that customers have the right to call whoever they want whenever they want. In light of all this AT&T wrote a letter to the FCC asking them to investigate Google Voice and that brings us to where we left off.

In their letter to the FCC, AT&T uses the reasoning that how Google Voice regulates calls is a violation of net neutrality which would mean that customers should be allowed to use the internet however and for whatever they want. The FCC asked Google to explain it's service from a technical standpoint. In short Google said that they view Google voice as a web service that is supplementary to an existing phone service and designed to help people with multiple numbers, organize and simplify their calls. Therefore they should be given more leniency.

At this point the ball is in the FCC's court as they are being forced to take a deeper look into net neutrality and confront issues of redefining previous standards that are too dated to address new technological developments in communications. What do you think the FCC will do?

You can view the letter AT&T wrote to the FCC though the link to the source article and also the very amusing blog Google wrote in response to the letter about AT&T's hypocrisy.

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