U.S. lawmakers want tables turned on Google Voice

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Though the absence of Google Voice from the iPhone App Store previously prompted an FCC probe, a group of lawmakers now want the service itself investigated for blocking calls to rural areas.



AT&T, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone, has complained that Google Voice would have an advantage over other carriers if is not required to follow the same rules as other telephone service providers. Currently, Google's telephony service has the ability to block calls to rural areas where it is more expensive to connect. Federal law prohibits traditional U.S. carriers from blocking such calls.



According to Reuters, a bipartisan group of 20 legislators from rural areas in the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to investigate the matter.



In September, AT&T wrote a letter to the FCC over its proposed rules for net neutrality. The nation's second-largest wireless carrier argued that Google must comply with the same regulations AT&T must if it plans to compete with traditional telephone operators.



The FCC has already investigated both AT&T and the Google Voice service after Apple refused to accept Google's Voice application into the iPhone App Store. AT&T has denied any role in the program's non-acceptance.



Apple has said that it alone has not accepted the Google Voice application. It has justified that decision by stating that the software too closely replicates the core functionality of the iPhone.



After AT&T, Google and Apple all filed formal letters with the FCC over the matter, discrepancies in each company's version of the events arose. Google claims that Apple outright rejected its application from the App Store, while Apple has countered that it has simply not accepted the application, but continues to review it.



Following a recent push by Genachowski, the FCC chairman, to preserve Net neutrality on all networks, including wireless, AT&T responded by announcing it will allow voice over IP calls via its 3G data network for iPhone users.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    I still don't see why Apple have to approve ANY application they don't want on the App Store.

    Just as Apple can't be forced to sell products through the Retail Stores, why should they be forced to have App in the App Store?



    I don't see anyone forcing Apple to sell Google Android Phones in the Retail stores, so why do they have to carry a Google App?



    Online Stores are not covered by some extra rules.



    Nor does Apple have the accept every application that is submitted to it.

    They have made the rules, they provide the software fro free, they choose what is made available.

    All developers know that when they sign up to be a developer, so what is the issue?
  • Reply 2 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by parky View Post


    I still don't see why Apple have to approve ANY application they don't want on the App Store.

    Just as Apple can't be forced to sell products through the Retail Stores, why should they be forced to have App in the App Store?



    I don't see anyone forcing Apple to sell Google Android Phones in the Retail stores, so why do they have to carry a Google App?



    Online Stores are not covered by some extra rules.



    Nor does Apple have the accept every application that is submitted to it.

    They have made the rules, they provide the software fro free, they choose what is made available.

    All developers know that when they sign up to be a developer, so what is the issue?



    Because when you start involving the airways, it no longer continues to be "a private issue" when there are clear and obvious regulated interests at stake. And lying to the FCC further proves that a wrong is being committed.



    Sure, if this were an app that didn't have a telephony component to it, the FCC would have no business here. But, Google Voice DOES deal with communications, and it's pretty obvious they have a stake in this issue, even as they try to pass the control to Apple which isn't as strongly and clearly regulated as AT&T in this case.
  • Reply 3 of 57
    Aha Google! You wanted fairness, you got it.
  • Reply 4 of 57
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,577member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Because when you start involving the airways, it no longer continues to be "a private issue" when there are clear and obvious regulated interests at stake. And lying to the FCC further proves that a wrong is being committed.



    Sure, if this were an app that didn't have a telephony component to it, the FCC would have no business here. But, Google Voice DOES deal with communications, and it's pretty obvious they have a stake in this issue, even as they try to pass the control to Apple which isn't as strongly and clearly regulated as AT&T in this case.



    I'm beginning to find this "lying to the FCC" charge almost amusing. It's quite clear that GV wasn't allowed on the iPhone for precisely the reason Apple gave. I really don't see how anyone looking objectively at the matter could conclude otherwise. Google has their own mobile platform, so let them offer their full GV experience there. There's no reason Apple has to let a direct competitor take over the iPhone telephony user experience.



    If Google wants to be directly in the business of being a phone carrier (which Apple is not), they should operate according to the law just like everyone else.
  • Reply 5 of 57
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,586member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    Aha Google! You wanted fairness, you got it.



    I am a big fan of getting the App on the iPhone but I agree with you totally. They should play by the rules.
  • Reply 6 of 57
    I agree too. Be careful what you ask for.
  • Reply 7 of 57
    bongobongo Posts: 158member
    curious as to why the article writer slyly kept the names of the twenty representatives secret ?
  • Reply 8 of 57
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,577member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bongo View Post


    curious as to why the article writer slyly kept the names of the twenty representatives secret ?



    Right, because only AI knows who they are!



    Slyly? Not specifically mentioning some detail is not exactly the same as slyly keeping it secret. My guess is that no one would know the name of more than one of a, "group of 20 legislators from rural areas in the U.S. House of Representatives", so why clutter up the article with a list of names no one will recognize.
  • Reply 9 of 57
    bfcbfc Posts: 5member
    Not sure how this applies to GV or Google. Google is not a Telco... And definitely not a carrier as AT&T implies.
  • Reply 10 of 57
    For those of us stuck out here in the rural divide we welcome this prod to balance out the concentration of services. In the Rocky mountain west many of us still can't get high speed access. I have bee waiting months for this service to be available for my business. Heck their is no way I can even get an I phone here. This is a good start to equalizing the digital divide. At least my Blackberry can sync easily with my Mac as of this month. Woo HOOO!
  • Reply 11 of 57
    Feel free to tell me I'm wrong...



    Isn't there a bigger issue here.... from a high level, Google is running its services on top of the telco, "filtering" phone numbers that it feels are "bad". If the FCC judges that this shouldn't be allowed and proceeds with the Net neutrality act (bill, law.. whatever). Doesn't that set a precedent that web filters that most employers, parents and others use (like web sence) should be banned?
  • Reply 12 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post


    Because when you start involving the airways, it no longer continues to be "a private issue" when there are clear and obvious regulated interests at stake. And lying to the FCC further proves that a wrong is being committed.



    Sure, if this were an app that didn't have a telephony component to it, the FCC would have no business here. But, Google Voice DOES deal with communications, and it's pretty obvious they have a stake in this issue, even as they try to pass the control to Apple which isn't as strongly and clearly regulated as AT&T in this case.



    First of all how do you know who lied and who did not to the FCC.



    Secondly good Google Voice got shafted. It is one of the most overrated piece of junk software. Google itself is a junk company, who do nothing but find loopholes in the system to benefit themselves. They steal people's personal information and sell it to advertisers. Almost all of their products are half baked implementations of stupid ideas.



    I hope they can shut down Google at the earliest.
  • Reply 13 of 57
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,577member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anilsudhakaran View Post


    First of all how do you know who lied and who did not to the FCC.



    No one has presented even the smallest shred of evidence that anyone -- i.e., Apple, AT&T or Google -- lied to the FCC in their responses to the inquiry on GV. Yet, the charges that Apple lied! AT&T lied! Google lied! fly about left and right.



    If you have any actual evidence that one of them did, I'm sure we'd all be excited to hear it. But, the explanations given by the 3 companies all make perfect sense for each of them, so I doubt very much that such evidence exists to produce.



    EDIT: Well, actually, this should have been in response to the post to which the quoted post responded.
  • Reply 14 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bfc View Post


    Not sure how this applies to GV or Google. Google is not a Telco... And definitely not a carrier as AT&T implies.



    That's not so cut and dry. In Canada, similar issues abound now that new technologies have stretched the meaning of such things as "broadcaster", "carrier", and "reseller". Bell filters and shapes network traffic but their resellers don't...unless they end up being a victim of Bell's own shaping...what happens when I want to do business with Rogers web services using data lines leased from a reseller leased from Bell?



    So many services are repackageable or repurposeable these days. you may not be the carrier in Apple's or Google's case, but you are able to act as one when you provide a wholly new conduit, through which new and critical services must flow, or in retrospect block the implementation of a new service like Skype.



    The telcos are performing an infrastructure role now to multiple parties using the same lines. It no longer matters that Google only USES the networks to connect voice calls. They are playing the role of carrier by providing the service, now they must step up to provide the legislated services a carrier must account for. It's a nice reality check that they have to conform to legislated duties...but a necessary one.



    In all due course the laws will adjust and so will the ways carriers fulfil their responsibilities, and hopefully everyone will be able to choose voice and data services as they see fit...rural or not.
  • Reply 15 of 57
    Google's not a carrier. Offering free outbound calls doesn't make it a carrier. There's plenty of regulation on dial-back and dial-around services that make this clear. GV's a dial-back - but being primarily controlled via the web rather than touchtone.



    I think the issue is that they provide free outbound calls - and they can only do it to places that are within their budget (whatever that might be).

    There's already a mechanism in place in GV to charge for non-free calls. Currently these are all international calls (BTW some of the best rates I've seen to the few places I track int'l call rates to). I'd guess that the easiest way to handle this inside the current app would be, instead of blocking, to put up a message "that telco charges $0.nn/min, which we have to bill to your account - do you want to make this non-free call?

    Yes, if you have a cellphone with all-USA free dialing plan, then the cell operator ends up eating this - but they are getting money from you. GV is free.

    If you're using GV from a cellphone with this plan, then, hopefully, you'd be smart enough to tell GV "no" and just dial the number yourself.

    If the person you're calling has gone to the trouble/expense of getting access to the interent and installing a sip-phone (or is running a sip phone app on their PC) you can call that for free (except, again, if you're on a cell, you're paying minutes)



    I'm not saying that it's unreasonable for rural carriers to charge more. It's more expensive to support subscribers when they're miles apart. These higher rural costs are something that "ma bell" used to cover - by charging us all inflated long distance rates. Ma Bell is gone, the cost differential's still there - but there aren't inflated LD rates to pay for it any more...
  • Reply 16 of 57
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anilsudhakaran View Post


    First of all how do you know who lied and who did not to the FCC.



    Secondly good Google Voice got shafted. It is one of the most overrated piece of junk software. Google itself is a junk company, who do nothing but find loopholes in the system to benefit themselves. They steal people's personal information and sell it to advertisers. Almost all of their products are half baked implementations of stupid ideas.



    I hope they can shut down Google at the earliest.



    I totally agree...
  • Reply 17 of 57
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Paging Tulkas... ... Tulkas to the white courtesy phone...
  • Reply 18 of 57
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bobkoure View Post


    Google's not a carrier. Offering free outbound calls doesn't make it a carrier. There's plenty of regulation on dial-back and dial-around services that make this clear. GV's a dial-back - but being primarily controlled via the web rather than touchtone.



    Google is a carrier if the FCC decides they are. Google has inserted themselves into the periphery of this -- for whatever reasons -- and at some point they'll run afoul of some adjacent jurisdiction. Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc. The fact that they bid on the 700 MHz spectrum makes them an obvious player in that space, regardless of whether they own the backbone or build their business by taking free rides on someone else's network.
  • Reply 19 of 57
    It looks like Apple should allow Google Voice on the iPhone.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bongo View Post


    curious as to why the article writer slyly kept the names of the twenty representatives secret ?



    Just Google states with a low person/cow ratio, and that's your list.
Sign In or Register to comment.