Google to FCC: Less Than 100 Phone Sex Numbers Blocked

FCC, National Broadband Plan, Net Neutrality October 28th, 2009

, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

By Winter Casey, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

WASHINGTON, October 28, 2009 – Google told the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday that its Google Voice service currently is restricting calls to fewer than 100 specific phone numbers that it believes are involved in the business of adult sex chats.

Google provided a detailed response (PDF) Wednesday to questions posed by the FCC concerning Google Voice’s practice of preventing calls to certain telephone number prefixes.

The FCC launched the investigation after AT&T filed a complaint that Google was limiting outbound Google Voice calls to phone numbers in a small number of rural areas. Google claimed it did this because certain local phone carriers’ charge exorbitant termination rates for calls and partner with adult sex chat lines and conference calling centers to drive high volumes of traffic otherwise known as “traffic pumping.”

But Google said Wednesday that its engineers have developed a solution for restricting calls to specific numbers. In its blog post, Google linked to an article from last year about its current foe, AT&T, who claimed in the story that the practice of pumping was costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

“To prevent these schemes from exploiting the free nature of Google Voice – making it harder for us to offer this new service to users – we began restricting calls to certain telephone number prefixes,” wrote Rick Whitt, of Google, on Wednesday.

“But over the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at ways to do this on a more granular level. We told the FCC today that Google Voice now restricts calls to fewer than 100 specific phone numbers, all of which we have good reason to believe are engaged in traffic pumping schemes,” he wrote.

Whitt added that Google still believes the “Commission needs to repair our nation’s broken carrier compensation system.” He said earlier this month that “AT&T apparently now wants web applications – from Skype to Google Voice – to be treated the same way as traditional phone services. Their approach is what a former FCC chairman has called “regulatory capitalism,” the practice of using regulation to block or slow down innovation. And despite AT&T’s lobbying efforts, this issue has nothing to do with network neutrality or rural America. This is about outdated carrier compensation rules that are fundamentally broken and in need of repair by the FCC.”

Neither AT&T nor the FCC responded to emailed press inquiries by deadline.

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One Response to “Google to FCC: Less Than 100 Phone Sex Numbers Blocked”

  1. Drew Clark Says:

    CNet also has the story, at http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10385736-265.html

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