After getting the Google Voice App blocked on the iPhone and the FCC to scrutinize Google Voice, you’d think AT&T could sit back and rest assured. But not so. Yesterday, they fired another volley in their war against the Internet-based telephony service with a 13-page letter to the FCC.
It’s like they read the comment section of the Google Public Policy blog post about all this the other day. Their letter reflects some of the anti-Google sentiments there—especially the undercurrent of “Why are you stifling competition, Google?”:
Of course, as a company whose motto is “don’t be evil,” Google should have no objection to abiding by the Internet Policy Statement and other net neutrality principles it advocates with respect to Google Voice and all of the Internet-based services, applications and content that it offers. And as an agency committed to “preserving a free and open Internet,” the Commission should show no hesitation in ensuring its Internet principles are applied evenhandedly to the “network providers, application and service providers, and content providers” – including Google – who are expressly subject to them today.
As the Wall Street Journal aptly reported, however, the call blocking incident with Google Voice has exposed Google’s true agenda for adulterating the Internet Policy Statement: “The Internet giant wants cumbersome [net neutrality] rules applied to everyone—except Google.” In other words, Google wants the Commission to rig the game in its favor by rewriting the Commission’s broadband principles to cover only broadband Internet access providers, while giving Google a free pass to discriminate against whatever calls, websites, applications or content it pleases.
Don’t hold back, AT&T. Tell us how you really feel.
As I said MOnday, “While it’s no surprise to see AT&T and Google on opposite sides of a neutrality battle, the roles they’re cast in this time are at least a little humorous—Google as the one trying to restrict access and AT&T as the fair-minded, open-access alternative.”
What do you think? Is Google trying to evade neutrality, or keep costs down? Is AT&T the disadvantaged underdog or are they just trying to maintain their stranglehold?
Full text of the letter:
at-t letter to FCC over Google Voice Oct 14