Google Voice Now Blocking "Fewer Than 100" Numbers

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Google says it is now blocking fewer than 100 local numbers from receiving calls placed using its Google voice telephone service, recently subject of an FCC investigation.

The blocking, used to prevent large payments to some telephone companies, has been a contentious issue between Google, AT&T, and the FCC.

The underlying issue is traffic-pumping, in which large volume telephone users, such as sex lines and conferencing service, place their incoming lines in places where the local telephone company charges high fees to complete the calls.

AT&T is required by law to complete the calls, regardless of the fee. Google says it is not covered by the requirement and started blocking calls to save money. The two companies have been exchanging letters with the FCC and the issue has clouded the net neutrality debate.

Google says it has found a way to block only the worst offenders, not whole telephone prefixes as it had done previously. The move may placate the FCC, but is not likely to stop AT&T's complaints.

The two companies have, however, found something to agree on: Both say the rules for compensating telephone companies for completing local calls need to be changed to prohibit traffic-pumping.

My take: The rules need to be changed, though it could put an end to free teleconferencing services based in areas where traffic-pumping is prevalent.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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