AT&T has never been happy about that, and it's now livid that Google Voice can avoid having to connect such calls -- thus dodging this twisted fee scheme.
"Indeed, if one were to replace 'Google' with 'AT&T,' and call blocking' with 'no pay' in AT&T's [letter to the FCC], Northern Valley and Sancom would have little to add to describe AT&T's unlawful campaign." "Without a hint of irony, AT&T concludes that 'the Commission cannot, through inaction or otherwise, give Google a special privilege to play by its own rules,'" Buntrock added.
AT&T and the other major carriers "are in desperate need of reminder of their obligations under the law." "For AT&T to invoke rural America to seek common carriage regulation of online applications, while rural carriers say AT&T isn't even paying its bills, is the height of cynicism," said Mistique Cano, a Google spokesperson.
"We are formally requesting an investigation by the FCC into the nature and function of Google Inc.'s voice service," the lawmakers wrote in their Oct. "A company should not be able to evade compliance with important principles of access and competition set forth by the FCC by simply self-declaring it is not subject to them without further investigation." Set aside for the moment the fact that most of these lawmakers have received over their careers hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T and Verizon (VZ) in campaign and PAC donations.
Set aside the fact that the local exchanges, many of which are in their districts, benefit most from this gaming of the intercarrier payment system.
After Congress and President Bill Clinton deregulated the phone industry with Telecommunications Act of 1996, rural areas came to receive their service primarily from two types of local carriers: an ILEC, for "incumbent local exchange carrier," the local phone companies that predated the Ma Bell breakup; or a CLEC, for "competitive local phone exchange," companies that emerged after the industry was deregulated.