Google Voice to rural users: "I do, I like them, Sam-I-Am"

As I wrote earlier this month, Google has been having a sort of Green Eggs and Ham fit refusing to connect users of it’s new free Google Voice service with certain rural telephone exchanges.  Their complaint is some rural telecomm companies are charging a higher fee to connect calls, in particular to adult chat lines and conference call services.   I’ve seen this complaint about some off-shore numbers with the familiar 10-digit number format, but never for American co-ops or independent telecommunications providers.

Hm. Maybe adult chat lines are a potential for rural economic development?  Anyway…

I don’t use Google Voice—nor do I know anyone likely to use the service—but a bunch of these blacklisted numbers happen to be in my back yard.

Today I saw a heads up from the Benton Foundation on damage control.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting:

Google Inc. said it will limit the number of phone numbers its Internet-phone service blocks, in a partial bow to federal regulators’ concerns that it was skirting rules designed to ensure that consumers phone calls are connected seamlessly.

A Federal Communications Commission spokesman said the agency was reviewing a letter from Google.

The Fargo Forum‘s Minnesota Capital Bureau blog reports that Google says fewer than 100 U.S. telephone numbers are being blocked.

The numbers that remain blocked are those where local phone companies “charge unusually high rates,” Google’s letter to the FCC said. In some cases, Google Voice would have to pay 39 cents per minute.

The rest of the Journal’s story is behind the firewall, so if you subscribe let me know if there’s anything else interesting there, if you would be so kind.  I found 150+ possible links on Google News, but my phone is ringing right now.  Might get some work done if I got on that black-out list….


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