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Google finds voice to respond to FCC

It's only 100 numbers, so stop being mean

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Google has responded to accusations that it blocks calls to certain numbers by reducing the quantity of blocked numbers to around 100, rather missing the point of network neutrality.

In a letter to Sharon E. Gillett, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Google asserts that blocking calls to certain numbers is necessary as such calls were eating up 26 per cent of Google Voice's US running costs. It continues that Google has now reduced the list to around 100 numbers, which is all very well, but misses the point that a neutral access service should treat all destinations equally - an argument Google endorses vocally when applied to the internet.

Google reckons that it is only blocking calls to "traffic pumping" services, such as adult chat lines and "free" conference-call services. It says that it shouldn't be obliged to connect such calls - as other telecommunications companies are - as it's not a "telecommunications service" at all: its an "information service" instead. That argument is obviously bollocks; Google Voice is a telephony service and should be regulated as such, but Google reckons it has no obligation to connect such calls. It argues:

"We still believe the Commission needs to repair our nation's broken carrier compensation system. The current system simply does not serve consumers well."

It's quite possible that most of the numbers Google is blocking are dodgy services, and that such services interfere with Google's business model of giving away free calls within the USA. However, that doesn't alter the fact that Google is running a telephony service without being subject to telephony regulations, and that gives the competition every right to call foul. ®

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