Originally published: October 1, 2009
Last updated: October 1, 2009 - 10:21pm
[Commentary] Google is always a trend setter. Sadly, in this case, the trend is the refusal to complete calls to certain free conference call or free porn sites. Now Speakeasy has decided to do the same. Unless the Federal Communications Commission acts quickly, I expect other voice over Internet providers to follow this trend.
What could the FCC do?
1) Issue a Declaratory Ruling & Order similar to the one issued in June 2007 prohibiting self-help by regular carriers. The Ruling should:
(a) Declare that any VOIP provider or other service that assists users in making calls to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) that refuses to complete calls to any PSTN number is not eligible for protection under Madison River. If you want to be an application, then you don't get interconnection. No privileges without the accompanying responsibilities. and,
(b) Declare that any VOIP provider that elects to block must meet the same explicit notice standards as Speakeasy.
2) The FCC needs to finally settle the regulatory status of VOIP providers and, in particular, figure out the status of Google Voice. If Google is smart, they will frame the issue by filing a Petition for Decl. Ruling along the lines they would like to see. If AT&T were smart, they'd file something real instead of that ridiculous letter they filed last week. But even if no one files anything (and I have enough to do this week, thank you very much), the FCC can and should investigate on its own authority and figure out what the heck Google Voice actually is so we can stop being distracted by this question.
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