FCC asks Google to explain how, why it blocks calls

Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:30am IST

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 WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Friday
asked Google Inc (GOOG.O) to explain how the Internet giant's
Voice service blocks expensive calls to some rural areas, after
lawmakers demanded an investigation.
 The Federal Communications Commission asked Google to
respond by Oct. 28 with information about how Google Voice
calls are routed, why it restricts calls to particular
telephone numbers and how Google chooses the numbers.
 Google must also identify how many users of Voice now exist
and whether the company plans to offer Voice on other than an
"invitation-only" basis, according to the letter sent by Sharon
Gillett, chief of the FCC's wireline competition bureau.
 Google has said that its Voice service is not a traditional
phone call because it originates from a Web software tool, and
has argued that it should not be regulated like telephone
 On Wednesday, a group of 20 U.S. House lawmakers, mostly
from rural areas, urged the FCC to investigate Google's ability
to block calls.
 Google's Voice service has also triggered a dispute between
the world's largest online search company and Apple Inc
(AAPL.O) over why the voice application is not available on the