Ever since AT&T filed a letter with the FCC about Google Voice’s refusal to connect to certain areas, the two companies have been in a heated public battle. On the one side, AT&T takes the stance that as a carrier, Google is required to offer open access to all numbers. Nevertheless, in today’s blog rebuttal, Google asserts, “Google Voice is a free web application, one intended to supplement and enhance existing phone lines, not replace them.”

In addition to outlining that it is not a primary telecommunications carrier, Google points out that AT&T has hypocritically lobbied the FCC for permission to block local phone carriers. The reason both organizations want to restrict these groups is because they charge high termination rates and partner with adult hotlines and free conference calling centers to further drive traffic. Google argues that it cannot continue to operate as a free service while paying these rates.

Meanwhile, AT&T asserts that while it prefers existing internet principles and does not want radical expansions under the FCC, if the Commission does choose to further regulate, “It absolutely must ensure that any such rules apply evenly – not just to network operators but also to providers of Internet applications, content and services. Anything less would be ineffective, legally suspect and, in all events, a direct repudiation of President Obama’s call for a ‘level playing field’.”

In your opinion should Google Voice be subject to the same rules that apply to AT&T or do you believe that web-based telephony groups like Skype, Google and Jajah should fall under a separate set of regulations?

Photo Credit: Aislinn Ritchie