AT&T presses FCC on Google Voice, net neutrality

AT&T is keeping the pressure on the FCC regarding two specific issues: AT&T's objections to Google's Google Voice application and its position on net neutrality regulations. Last week, Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior executive vice president of legislative and external affairs, met with Edward Lazarus, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's chief of staff, and pressed AT&T's case on both fronts.

It has been nearly a month since Google responded to an FCC inquiry about Google Voice, in which the company said it had found a way to restrict call blocking on its Google Voice service to fewer than 100 specific phone numbers. AT&T has maintained that Google Voice violates both federal call-blocking regulations and net neutrality principles. Google, in turn, has reiterated its position that Google Voice should not be regulated like a traditional telephone service because it is a "Web-based software application" that is "completely distinct from the user's telephone access lines/services."

In the meeting, Cicconi also reiterated AT&T's opposition to certain provisions of the net neutrality rules the FCC is considering. Cicconi said that imposing a non-discrimination standard for Internet content "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 decades ago, according to a filing AT&T made with the FCC. Additionally, Cicconi said the new regulations should focus on  anti-consumer or anti-competitive practices, and that a sweeping non-discrimination standard would be "inappropriate."

An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment on the meeting, and said the FCC's inquiry into Google Voice was ongoing.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article

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