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Google Voice Controversy with AT&T Freshens Up Access Charges Battle

in National Broadband Plan/Universal Service by

WASHINGTON, November 13, 2009 - Access charges are well above the actual costs to connect telephone calls, despite the efforts made by the Federal Communications Commission, said Andy Regitsky of Regitsky and Associates, in a webinar presentation on “Access Charges and Network costs - A Guide to FCC Reform,” hosted by CCMI.

“The FCC is not ready to give control over access charges which have been flawed for the 25 years of their existence,” said Regitsky.

Regitsky said that access reform is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed, with the national broadband plan due to be presented to Congress in February 2010. The plan will likely require universal service changes. Most internet telephone companies – including Google Voice – have become enmeshed in controversy for refusing to pay access charges for terminating some voice calls.

Currently, he said, the FCC must work with different state public utility commissions on the thorny question of equalizing telephone calls that cross state lines and those that stay within the boundaries of a particular territory. Interstate calls are under the jurisdiction of the FCC, and access charges for those calls tend to be lower than calls within a state.

“If I am making a call from my house in Virginia, it doesn’t matter whether it is going to a neighbor next door, or to someone in California,” Said Registsky.

An intern at the National Journalism Center, Mercy was a Reporter-Researcher for until November 2009. She was a business reporter on leave from the Daily Nation of Nairobi, Kenya. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Daystar University in Nairobi.

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