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AT&T accuses Google of a vast conspiracy, including using its "monopoly" to control the media, control user's internet traffic, and silence its opponents.  (Source: The Independent)
A new letter from AT&T to the federal government makes it clear that the company has little love for Google

If there's one thing clear from the Google Voice iPhone debacle, it's that there's no love lost between AT&T and Google.  AT&T, to date, is accusing Google of everything from political and news manipulation, to violating net neutrality.

The drama surrounding the rejection began shortly after when the Federal Communications Commission opened an inquiry into who was responsible for the rejection of Google Voice and whether the rejection violated any federal laws or rules.  AT&T quickly responded that it did not mastermind the rejection, and that it was Apple's doing.  Apple followed up, taking the blame and say it was working to get the app approved.

Then came a second response from AT&T.  Apparently in a sharing mood, AT&T sounded off against Google and complained to the FCC that it believes Google Voice breaks the law.  Since AT&T has allowed VoIP apps onto the iPhone, but Google Voice is still no where to be found.  Now AT&T has delivered a third letter to the FCC further attacking the internet giant.

While Google has been attacked by many -- newspaper moguls, telecoms, and internet rivals -- the new letter is perhaps the harshest conglomerated criticism leveled against the company to date.  Written by Robert W. Quinn, Jr., an AT&T Senior Vice President, the letter entitled "Google Voice; Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers" opens claiming Google is a hypocrite when it comes to net neutrality.

Mr. Quinn writes:

As the debate regarding “net neutrality” has evolved, it appeared on the surface that all parties shared the same desire to preserve the “free and open” nature of the Internet, a goal enunciated by [FCC] Chairman Genachowski with which we heartily agree."

As communications services increasingly migrate to broadband Internet-based platforms, we can now see the power of Internet-based applications providers to act as gatekeepers who can threaten the “free and open” Internet. Google’s double-standard for “openness” – where Google does what it wants while other providers are subject to Commission regulations – is plainly inconsistent with the goal of preserving a “free and open” Internet ecosystem.

The letter claims that Google's explanation that it is only blocking certain kinds of rural calls like adult sex-chat lines, to avoid high fees leveled against the free service, is a lie.  The letter accuses Google of conspiracy, saying it also blocked calls to an ambulance service, church, bank, law firm, automobile dealer, day spa, orchard, health clinic, tax preparation service, community center, eye doctor, tribal community college, school, residential consumers, a convent of Benedictine nuns, and the campaign office of a U.S. Representative.

According to AT&T, Google is "abus[ing] its market power".  AT&T insists Google is not exempt, either from being free or being internet-based, from federal regulations that prevent such call blocking.

The letter also calls Google a monopoly, citing, "In preparing a complaint to challenge the Google/Yahoo arrangement, the [U.S.] Department [of Justice] reportedly concluded that Google had a “monopoly” in these markets and the proposed arrangement “would have furthered [Google’s] monopoly."

Furthermore, AT&T accuses Google of practicing broad-scale manipulation of the media.  It says that Google blocked political advertisements from Senator Susan Collins, due to her criticism of, a Google net neutrality partner.  It also accuses Google of blocking the Inner City Press from Google News, as the publication criticized the United Nation Development Programme, a Google-sponsored program.

It then goes on to accuse Google of illegitimately "buying" ads in its own auction to push its agenda for keywords such as "net neutrality". The letter concludes, "Ironically, Google appears oblivious to the hypocrisy of its net neutrality advocacy relative to its own conduct. [A]t the same time, Google exploits the dominance of its search engine and its gatekeeping power over other applications to give its preferred content greater visibility than its political opponents’ content or to simply block its competitors’ applications altogether."

"Deliberately narrowing the principles to award Google a special privilege to play by its own rules – or no rules at all – would be grossly unfair, patently unlawful, and a renunciation of President Obama’s assurance that the Commission’s Internet Policy Statement would be used to “ensure there’s a level playing field” between competitors. Thus, the Commission’s first fundamental step in leveling that playing field must be to unequivocally re-affirm in its proposed rulemaking that it will not exempt Google from whatever rules it ultimately adopts."

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Google is the next AOL.
By reader1 on 10/16/2009 9:10:05 AM , Rating: -1
The current internet is a joke. It's Internet 0.1.

The next internet will be far superior. In the future, web content is going to be packaged and sold just like music, podcasts and videos are sold on iTunes.

The web browser is going to evolve into a web store. You'll purchase and manage all your digital goods with it.

Web content will be completely controlled by the store owner. That means no piracy, malware, plagiarism, or other criminal activities. It also means kids won't have access to adult content.

Search engines will become unnecessary. There's no need for a company, like Google, to search a much smaller, controlled selection of web content. The web store owner can easily manage searches.

This new internet will succeed because average users, especially parents, want a civilized, orderly internet, rather than the anarchy and chaos that we have today.

RE: Google is the next AOL.
By troysavary on 10/16/2009 9:19:57 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, we will all love paying more to get less. Sheesh, where do you get these ideas. The anarchy and chaos is exactly what makes the internet popular. No longer do a few, usually left leaning, sources control all our access to information.

That, my friend, is the true reason we see this call to censor the internet. It has nothing to do with protecting the children. It is that the mainstream media hates the fact that they are no longer the gatekeepers of information.

RE: Google is the next AOL.
By reader1 on 10/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Google is the next AOL.
By theapparition on 10/16/2009 9:29:32 AM , Rating: 2
What you've just described is AOL. Good work!

Now, I'm going to go do penance for feeding the reader1 troll.

RE: Google is the next AOL.
By Ananke on 10/16/2009 3:26:01 PM , Rating: 2
When somebody talks "who is watching you" shall ask first himself this question:

Why ATT built huge datacenters and mirrors all user traffic upon key words? Not just the web behaviour, but ALL the information through their wires...Food for some thoughts guys. Recently the media has been very quiet about that, the datacenters still exist though, and are in use.


How anybody can fight a service provided free?

ATT is going the way of the Do-do :), very soon everybody will do IP phone calls, and at the very moment when last mile is not monopoly (becaiuse now is effectively monopoly) ATT may be just a small ISP player...They don't deserve to exist, in my opinion.

RE: Google is the next AOL.
By Gzus666 on 10/16/2009 8:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
While I share your disdain for AT&T, having worked for them and with them they completely suck and are mindless zombies, I don't foresee VoIP taking over completely anytime soon. Trying to do faxing with T.38 is a nightmare, keeping call quality there is a pain in the butt. Packets drop, that is just life and with UDP, you aren't getting them back. This becomes an issue and they really need a serious hardware and physical layer upgrade worldwide before this really takes off.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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