Thursday, September 24, 2009

AT&T Criticizes Google on Net Neutrality

AT&T filed a letter with the FCC reiterating its support for a vibrant, open Internet, while also criticizing Google for its own disregard for Net Neutrality. Specifically, AT&T said Google is systematically blocking telephone calls from consumers that use Google Voice to call phone numbers in certain rural communities and, as a result, is reducing its access expenses.

A June 2007 FCC decision prohibits other providers, including those with which Google Voice competes, from taking such action. Google has dismissed the Commission's order, claiming that Google Voice "isn't a traditional phone service and shouldn't be regulated like other common carriers."

AT&T's Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory Robert Quinn, said:

"Google Voice has claimed for itself a significant advantage over providers offering competing services. By openly flaunting the call blocking prohibition that applies to its competitors, Google is acting in a manner inconsistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the FCC's fourth principle contained in its Internet Policy Statement. Ironically, Google is also flouting the so-called ‘fifth principle of non-discrimination' for which Google has so fervently advocated..."

"AT&T strongly emphasizes that the existing Internet principles are serving consumers well in their current form and there is no sound reason to radically expand and codify those principles. But if the Commission nonetheless embarks on such a course as it apparently plans to do in an upcoming rulemaking, it absolutely must ensure that any such rules apply evenly -- not just to network operators but also to providers of Internet applications, content and services. Anything less would be ineffective, legally suspect and, in all events, a direct repudiation of President Obama's call for a ‘level playing field.'

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