back to article FCC questions Google Voice's expensive call blocker

The US Federal Communications Commission wants Google to explain how its voice service application blocks costly calls to rural areas. The commission sent a letter to the Mountain View company on Friday, asking for details by October 28 on its much-discussed Google Voice web application. The query comes two weeks after telecom …


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  1. James 100

    Obvious solution...

    Google Voice already has the facilities in place for charging for calls (they provide "cheap" rather than "free" international calls): just pass these charges straight through, with a notification message beforehand telling you that ScamCo is charging you $1/minute to connect the call.

    As long as the FCC doesn't require that long-distance companies charge the same price for these premium-rate calls as for regular calls (which would be truly insane), this neatly gets around the legal problem with "blocking" access, as well as getting some public awareness of this little scam, without leaving Google out of pocket.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    It's about time someone held Googles goolies to the fire.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    where are the GV users?

    Are there any GV users in those 'high interconnect fee' rural areas? If so, can anyone on GV call them?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like a cunning plan

    Google have hatched a plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel.

    5 Zimbabwean Dollars says that the FCC will do squat.

    RIP "Do no evil" Google then.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    This, and other articles, miss the salient point

    The issue is that the local telcos are gaming the system.

    If ONLY calls to local people in the boondocks were going on this wouldn't be an issue. The issue arises because there is an entire class of business built on living off "termination fees", those charges the long-distance companies pay to subsidize the local telcos.

    Except they're not subsiding local telcos anymore, they're the profit mechanism for "free teleconferencing", the odd call center, and "free" sex chat lines, among other things.

    Ever wonder why the number you call for your "free teleconferencing" is in Iowa or Minnesota? That's because your long-distance carrier is paying some telco for the privilege of terminating your call there. Note that even though in 99.99% of the time NOBODY on that conference call is in Iowa, there is a bunch of servers in some closet where all the long-distance calls terminate, and the telco and the free-conference provider split the (in my mind) ill-gotten gains.

    Why should AT&T, or Google for that matter, subsidize YOUR free conference call?

    Why is this right?

    On what planet does this sort of arrangement make sense?

    Why does the FCC allow this to go on?


  6. lpopman

    Let me correct that for you

    @AC 02:51 GMT:


    why should the general public subsidise commercial enterprises?

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @ Ipopman

    There is a rationale for termination fees, but I agree it may be weak.

    This entire mess stems from the breakup of AT&T. In the old days, the monolithic AT&T was able to spread its costs around to subsidize the infrastructure needed to service remote areas. When they broke up AT&T, small telcos had to go it alone.

    To "solve" this problem, they instituted the termination fee mechanism, whereby long distance calls terminating in these areas paid a fee for each such call; thus "preserving" the subsidy.

    Problem today is, the local telcos and their partners have moved beyond subsidy to cash cow with this baroque arrangement. It no longer represents the original intent, and it needs to be stopped.

  8. Forename Surname

    Do no evil

    Hmm, not really in the spirit of the rules is it? Google becomes more like a normal corporation all the time. They were supposed to change the world!

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