Google has responded to accusations that it blocks calls to certain numbers by reducing the quantity of blocked numbers to around 100, rather missing the point of network neutrality. In a letter to Sharon E. Gillett, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, Google asserts that blocking calls to certain numbers is necessary as …
"Google asserts that blocking calls to certain numbers is necessary as such calls were eating up 26 per cent of Google Voice's US running costs"
How many numbers were there to begin with? Cant understand how even if it was a 1000 numbers costing this much.
Google voice is unlike any other telephony service I've used as it requires you to have a phone to use it.
Complaining about Google doing this is like complaining about UK operators with unlimited calls, but excluding calls to mobiles.
Would you be happier if Google just charged the actual rate for the call?
It's not at all like network neutrality. Typically the charge for sending traffic to one US state costs the same as sending to another state. There certainly isn't a hundred fold difference.
The situation you seem to desire would be like Google setting up in the Midwest with other operators legally obliged to connect to them and also to pay Google per kb of data transferred. It makes no sense and Google shouldn't be forced to curtail a valuable application because a very small number of firms exploit rules that were designed to protect rural communities, not benefit big business..
So how does this continue?
I find it really stupid to push things like that for what is a free service. If they force Google to unblock, what do you think will happen? They'll either start charging money or stop the whole thing. In both cases the consumer is the loser.
It is time the regulator thinks about the consumers....
If they have a problem with telephony regulatory system, fine, campaign to improve it for everyone. To claim to be excluded from regulation is obsurd.
"Judge, I robbed the bank but it wasn't wrong because I believe the government needs to repair our nation's broken banking system. The current system simply does not serve consumers well."
It's a free service
It's a free internet service that routes an EXISTING phone service...
It's not the same thing as a traditional telecom, new rules need to be made up, but it doesn't mean that Google should be subject to the same rules as those of traditional telecoms.
A Telephony service?
It seems to me that you'd need a telephone to use a telephony service. You can't use connect to Google Voice from a phone (at least not if you're using it as a phone), so there's some merit to Google's case, but it seems that they should be able to charge for access to those numbers, rather than just blocking them. After all, the phone companies can hardly complain about Google charging arbitrary amounts for connecting calls, seeing as they do it all the time.
Google is still right, the model is broken
Google is very much right in saying that the compensation model is broken when it comes to call termination.
Basically when a carrier receives a call, they charge a certain amount of money for compensation. The ex Bell carriers charge a small amount (A very low volume wholesale plan would be between 0.002$/minute and 0.006$/minute). Other carriers, mainly rural, mobile and pure voip charge what they want. I've seen rates going from 0.015 to 0.035$/minute for some of these "free" teleconference numbers. Basically the carrier gets paid for the teleconference by billing through the nose the carriers of the people who connect to it.
Of course these rates go down depending on volume, contracts and other factors, but there are some steep differences between the carriers.
Hopefully with Google Weight behind it, the model will be less broken once sufficient pressure has been applied.
Fine the fuck out of Google
Its only fair. Then, after that, address their point, and fix our stupid carrier compensation system.
I feel the pain, but...
Google is making a point that AT&T and Verizon made long ago -- that these particular phone calls are going to a calling zone in a rural area where the local telephone commission has determined can charge outrageous connection fees. This happens nowhere else in the United States except to this one small exchange, and it is done on purpose as means for generating revenue for a rural area that has no other means of revenue creation.
In the modern day an age of telephone and communication services, this type of behavior borders on true piracy, IMO, and it should not be tolerated. A reasonable fee, with small fluctuations in prices depending on the area, is acceptable. Outrageous connection fees are not, though.
BUT -- the courts have already ruled that all telephone companies cannot shut out this one exchange because of this shameful behavior because it robs consumers of freedom of choice, and they cannot pass on the increased connection fees to consumers who want to use the services set up in this one exchange. They have the option of increasing EVERYBODY's fees to offset this, or they can choose to eat the costs, but they don't have the option to NOT connect calls.
Google may not want to admit it, but their service becomes a telephony service the second it moves from the Internet to the public telephone network. Vonage and other VoIP providers have all failed to make the argument that they are not a telephone service. Although all Google's service does is connect one user's phone to another phone line, it does so by crossing over to the public telephone network, and thus falls under a telephone product. Just because Google Voice is free should not matter -- it is Google's choice to make it free. if AT&T wanted to do so, they could make their telephony products free as well, and they would still be responsible for the connection fees.
Until the law changes that outlaws the abhorrent behavior of this one rogue exchange, Google should not be evil and should follow the law. Google should not be evil and it should work with the rest of the telephony providers affected by this to rally public support to end this.
Charge the customers
Why not just charge the customers who want to call dodgy phone numbers? Problem solved.
You have no understanding
Google Voice is NOT a Telecommunication Service, it's a Voice Routing, Recording, and Automation system. Essentially, it's a VRU, a device I can connect to any ordinary line at home or in a business which can receive, manipulate, and redirect calls, but it by itself does not constitute an endpoint telephone.
yes, it supports SIP endpoints like a gizmo client, but you have to have an existing account on gizmo's service, just like having to have a existing phone with a 3rd party provider for a cell phone or landline.
I used to do the exact same thing at home using an Asterisk telephony board and 2 home phone lines and my cell phone. I had a cell plan that let me place and receive calls to home free, and MCI unlimited calling from home to all of america. I put a "child locked" account on my cell phone, with a 100 minute plan only able to send and receive calls from 1 number (the home one), so in essence had a $15 a month fully unlimited cell phone calling plan. I could also record 100% of all calls,or do 3 way calling without surcharges. I also used it as a call screening service. Several years ago a lighting storm took out the board, which was a handmedown from a client who didn't need it any more, and I could never afford to replace it, so I no longer had my home service. Google voice is the same thing, simply hosted by someone else...
You can not connect a SIP or VoIP device directly to google, without a3rd party, and make and receive calls. They are a 3rd party intermediary service. They are NOT a telco.
You should not be writing articles about technology you do not understand.
The calls aren't equal to begin with!
How can Google be expected to treat all destinations equally, when in this case they fundamentally are not equal? The connecting carriers are not treating them equal either: they are charging vastly more for connecting to these numbers than to others. Your phone company, likewise, isn't treating them equally either, even if they are obliged to connect to them: you pay more on your phone bill for calling these numbers in the first place.
Personally I see that as the solution here. It costs more for Google to connect those calls, and they should simply pass that cost on to customers who actually, knowingly, want to call those numbers. That would put their behavior right in line with the rest of the telecom companies.
I also agree with Google's statement. The FCC should repair the broken compensation system, because as it stands right now, it's not even possible to treat all calls equal. Not with connection costs being so vastly different.
So, is this the Bill Ray that is director, external affairs, AT&T Tennessee?
Hmmm... net neutrality for others maybe?
So comparing the two
"Google asserts that blocking calls to certain numbers is necessary as such calls were eating up 26 per cent of Google Voice's US running costs."
"Comcast’s plan is to identify the 2% or 3% of customers who over the last hour or two have consumed more than 50% of the capacity on the network, Werner said. Those heavy users are then given lower priority and will have their bandwidth limited for a temporary period of time."
I have to wonder why Google doesn't get the same bad rep as Comcast when their cutoff level is lower than Comcast?? I'm thinking Google didn't quite think things through on what they were requesting on the whole net neutrality thing there...
Dial no evil
If you heard that NN means paying money to directly to hacks rather than to at&t, I can see why at&t are upset and you're happy. However, I regret to inform you that these dodgy rural kickbacks benefit political hacks only - no other species of hack gets a dime.
I don't understand what the big deal is with this. Google is providing this service 100% free and no one has any obligation to use it. Don't like the blocking? Don't use the /free/ service.
It's free, they should be able to do whatever they like.
Handbags at dawn, darling!
It's a stupid bloody argument, anyway. If you route calls for customers you fall under the FCC's remit. You can witter on about how it's completely different because they're using different technology but you know you're wrong,really.
Google telecomms, the bright side
I don't see why Google objects to be considered a telco. After all, they already have the legal intercept thing sorted - and in this case with active collaboration of the users. Or, to put it differently, anyone using Google Voice should STFU about Phorm.
At least Phorm doesn't legally grab the right to use your conversations any way they feel like (Terms of Service clause 11 works there too).
Reminds me of...
..a saying from a good book. I'll modify it to fit
"We're all Net Neutral, it's just that some of us are more Net Neutral than others"