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AT&T's top lobbyists tell FCC to punish Google Voice

CORRECTION: AT&T's Cicconi met with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's chief of staff, Edward Lazarus. Genachowski was not in the meeting.

It's been a few weeks since Google told the Federal Communcations Commission that its voice application is still blocking calls, just fewer of them.

So what does the FCC plan to do? That's what AT&T wants to know and the company sent its top lobbyists to the agency this week to talk to Edward Lazarus, chief of staff to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski about the apparent violation of phone calling rules.

At the meeting, Cicconi also reiterated several objections from AT&T to an agency proposal for net neutrality rules that would prohibit the discrimination of content over the Web. (Here's a letter submitted to the FCC describing the meeting).

Specifically, Cicconi said one portion of the proposed open-Internet rules was too strict.

By "imposing a non-discrimination standard that does not contain some form of reasonableness limitation would be more restrictive than the prohibition against “unreasonable discrimination” adopted for monopoly-era telephone companies in the Communications Act of 1934.

And in a meeting with FCC chief counsel Bruce Gottlieb, AT&T's senior vice president of federal affairs Robert Quinn asked "that the commission make clear that Google is prohibited from blocking voice calls irrespective of the underlying technology used to deliver its service.

An FCC spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the meeting nor on the agency's response to AT&T.

The FCC has been investigating practices of Google Voice, an Internet application that forwards calls and aggregates phone numbers for users. AT&T had complained to the agency that Google had been violating communications regulations that prohibit call blocking. On October 28, Google said it has reduce the number of calls it blocks to under 100.

By Cecilia Kang  |  November 20, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

It would seem funny that AT&T would be so concerned over such a non-issue until one realizes the depth of AT&T's marriage to Yahoo. Which must make it a tricky relationship seeing how Google basically saved Yahoo from certain doom from the evil clutches of Microsoft a couple years ago.

Posted by: wrr123 | November 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

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