AT&T complains about Google Voice

AT&T claims that because Google blocks certain numbers from association with its Google Voice service, it violates net neutrality principles. [NYT] It’s all about fees at the back end: poky local telcos scam the big carriers on connection charges. But whereas big carriers are forced to allow the connections, Google Voice is not.

The flaw in the argument is, of course, that Google Voice isn’t a telco. It’s a new application of existing technology that supercedes the business model that telcos rely on. Among other things, Google Voice makes it obvious that the services carriers charge for are worthless, and that bandwidth is their only real product.

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3 Responses to AT&T complains about Google Voice

  1. Bret says:

    “Among other things, Google Voice makes it obvious that the services carriers charge for are worthless, and that bandwidth is their only real product.”

    Amen….

  2. Anonymous says:

    *slow clap @ #1*

  3. AirPillo says:

    Unfortunately, if we want to reign the telcos in with explicitly defined laws, we need to be prepared to accept the setback if the letter of the law inadvertently catches a few dolphins in the net. I think this is an unfortunate but fair claim to make against Google.

    Voice should be treated just like any other data once it’s entered the network It goes where the customer wants it to go.

    Google should have every right, however, to defer any excessive costs of providing this service onto the user, provided the use is the user’s choice.

    This is a case where Google does actually have a real, prohibitive expense of providing the service that it cannot control. It isn’t like a telco or ISP making claims of limited bandwidth because they’re too cheap to upgrade their infrastructure. Google should have to provide connectivity without discrimination, but should get to charge customers for the privilege as a means of either discouraging the expense or being recompensed for it.

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