According to AT&T, Google isn't playing by the rules with Google Voice -- they are rejecting outbound calls to some rural areas to reduce their access expenses. Google says that these numbers are typically used for things like sex chat lines.
Why would it be against the rules if Google decides to block numbers like this? Well, carriers are required to put through calls to anywhere (regardless of cost), and AT&T thinks Google Voice should have to follow the same rules.
Google argues that they aren't a carrier, and don't have to abide by the same laws. Here's how Google differentiates themselves:
- Unlike traditional carriers, Google Voice is a free, Web-based software application, and so not subject to common carrier laws.
- Google Voice is not intended to be a replacement for traditional phone service -- in fact, you need an existing land or wireless line in order to use it. Importantly, users are still able to make outbound calls on any other phone device.
- Google Voice is currently invitation-only, serving a limited number of users.
This battle between Google, AT&T and Apple (over the Google Voice app) is definitely heating up, and will be fun to watch.