Feeds

FCC questions Google Voice's expensive call blocker

Dials-up the pressure

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The US Federal Communications Commission wants Google to explain how its voice service application blocks costly calls to rural areas.

The commission sent a letter to the Mountain View company on Friday, asking for details by October 28 on its much-discussed Google Voice web application. The query comes two weeks after telecom giant AT&T accused Google of violating FCC open-internet policies with Google Voice.

At issue are FCC rules that let the country's rural phone companies charge long-distance providers exorbitant fees to access their local landlines. The law was originally designed to help local phone firms survive despite low call volumes.

While long-distance outfits like AT&T are required to connect to these local markets, Google Voice blocks the calls and avoids the extra expenses. Google argues the FCC rules apply only to broadband carriers and not the creators of web-based software applications.

The FCC today told Google it must provide information on how Google Voice calls are routed, how its restrictions are implemented, and how it identifies the telephone numbers to which it restricts calls.

In a length statement to Google's telecom and media counsel in Washington, Richard Whitt, FCC wireline bureau's chief Sharon Gillet wrote: "In light of pending commission proceedings regarding concern about so-called 'access simulation,' the commission's prohibition on call blocking by carriers, as well as the commission's interest in ensuring that 'broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers,' we are interested in gathering facts that can provide a more complete understanding of the situation."

The commission also wants Google to explain how it sees Google Voice fitting in with current telecom laws, and whether it competes with any traditional telecom services.

The FCC went on to ask Google to explain specifically what is meant by calling current access to the app "invitation-only" and how many users have access to the service.

A copy of the FCC letter can be found here (PDF) or here (TXT). ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.