AT&T has come forth and accused Google of
everything from being
a monopoly to doctoring the media. The most pertinent
accusations to the Google Voice conflict are AT&T's claims that
Google is breaking the law by blocking
numbers to its service.
Google already said that it isn't
breaking the law as the service is free and thus is not subject to
the same restrictions as traditional telecoms. Now it's
Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Richard Whitt, has posted
a blog sharing Google's perspective in greater detail.
post describes, "Earlier this year, we noticed an extremely high
number of calls were being made to an extremely small number of
destinations. In fact, the top 10 telephone prefixes -- the area code
plus the first three digits of a seven digit number, e.g.,
555-555-XXXX -- generated more than 160 times the expected traffic
volumes, and accounted for a whopping 26 percent of our monthly
Google claims that these numbers were
mostly adult chat and "free" conference call lines, with
high associated costs. In response to the criticism, Google say
it has been trying to block calls on a "more granular level".
It says it now only blocks about 100 numbers, which it is confident
are part of traffic-pumping schemes.
Instead of facing
criticism, Google feels it deserves praise for highlighting a flawed
system. It says that the higher costs of calls on traditional
phone plans, and the existence of traffic pumping schemes point to a
broken system. Writes Mr. Whitt, "We still believe the
Commission needs to repair our nation's broken carrier compensation
quote: A few decades ago another tool called a Blue Box was produced to make free calls over a phone network. I seem to recall a story about Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Captain Crunch themselves getting caught by police while using a Blue Box on a pay phone. Using such a tool is considered stealing phone service, how can Google Voice really be considered to be any different?
quote: The alternative is to call a spade a spade and just include voice and text/MMS as data. Our plans will basically be in quantities of megabytes instead of minutes, or just straight unlimited everything.
quote: When you use google voice, you are not really making a telephone call. You are using your data connection to the internet to send data. You have to pay for that connection, that data. You are not making a telephone call for free, as you are not making a telephone call. It is no different than making a recording of a speech in digital format, then copying that file (FTP, torrent, attaching to an email, etc) and sending it to someone else for them to play back.
quote: When you use google voice, you are not really making a telephone call. You are using your data connection to the internet to send data
quote: The carriers DO US A FAVOR by making that distinction and offering low priced unlimited data plans on the assumption that we will not abuse it like this.