updated 03:45 pm EDT, Thu October 29, 2009
Google Voice tries to appease FCC
Google in a response to the FCC on Wednesday said it has discovered a method to curb some of the rural call blocking that prompted a formal investigation into its Google Voice service. The search firm's new technology is much more specific and now only blocks less than 100 phone numbers, which Google now says are limited to "traffic pumping" sites like questionable conference call services that cost the company a disproportionately high amount in connection charges.
The move is meant to address criticisms from AT&T that had prompted the investigation. It has tried to claim that Google is a full phone carrier and that it has been violating common carrier laws that require companies complete calls to areas that aren't necessarily profitable. Critics have accused AT&T of using the measure as a retort to Google's calls for net neutrality.
Google in a post said the actual issue is a "broken" carrier compensation system that allows some to abuse the phone network but offload the cost to the real-world or VoIP carrier handling the connection. Before it implemented blocking techniques, as much as 26 percent of their connection costs came from just ten six-digit phone prefixes.