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FCC launches probe of Google Voice service( Rent seeking )
Knoxville Biz. COM ^ | October 9, 2009 | staff

Posted on 10/10/2009 3:40:11 AM PDT by Leisler

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators will look into complaints by AT&T Inc. that Google Inc.’s free messaging and calling service, Google Voice, blocks calls to rural communities where local phone companies charge high connection fees.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday sent a letter to Google requesting information about its Voice service, which lets people sign up for one number that can route incoming calls to cell, office or home phones. The service also lets users place calls, including international calls, at low rates.

As part of a broader quarrel with Google, AT&T has complained that Google Voice blocks calls to phone numbers in some rural communities to reduce the access charges it must pay. .........

(Excerpt) Read more at knoxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/10/2009 3:40:11 AM PDT by Leisler
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To: Leisler
has complained that Google Voice blocks calls to phone numbers in some rural communities to reduce the access charges it must pay

There is a term for price discrimination. It's called free enterprise.

2 posted on 10/10/2009 3:43:18 AM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: Leisler

This is how big business likes to compete. Mommy (Big Governemnt), he stole my lunch (by out-competing me). Do something!


3 posted on 10/10/2009 3:55:56 AM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: SeeSharp

Is there anything that prevents rural users from using satellite Internet? No.

People make choices. You want to live in the city, you might not be allowed to have chickens. You live up bum fuk mountain, you might not have take out Indonesian restaurant, or these days, a GM dealer with in a 150 miles.


4 posted on 10/10/2009 3:57:35 AM PDT by Leisler (It's going to be a hard, long winter)
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To: Leisler

I wonder how ATT has a right to demand performance of a Federal Police FOrce to protect their market share.


5 posted on 10/10/2009 4:01:44 AM PDT by mo
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To: Leisler

Has anyone used this service, and is it a good one to sign up with? I haven’t heard of it before.


6 posted on 10/10/2009 4:02:21 AM PDT by BlueStateBlues (Blue State business, Red State heart. . . . .Palin 2012----can't come soon enough!)
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To: 1010RD

Actually its Mommy who tells big business they are required to provide service to remote locations if they want a business license.

Then another business comes along and seeks to bypass the laws.


7 posted on 10/10/2009 4:09:30 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: BlueStateBlues

its google, they probably sell your call history and what you talk about


8 posted on 10/10/2009 4:10:14 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: mo
I wonder how ATT has a right to demand performance of a Federal Police FOrce to protect their market share.

Because ATT is not allowed, by law, to block calls to any number.

This is the old technology (and FCC licenses) conflicting with new technology.

9 posted on 10/10/2009 4:11:58 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: driftdiver

Read the article. The problem is government, not competition.


10 posted on 10/10/2009 4:36:43 AM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: Leisler

Corporatism at its finest. The government grabs erstwhile private enterprise by the jewels, and the strongest in private enterprise turn around and insert the cattle prod into government, and can now tell the government where, when, and how to squeeze.

A company cannot force anyone to do SQUAT except at the gunpoint of government. Our benevolent, paternalistic “leaders”, past and present, are to thank.

“It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our
own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.”-—C. S. Lewis


11 posted on 10/10/2009 4:42:42 AM PDT by M203M4 (Sorry - I lost them *ALL* during a camping trip last week.)
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To: 1010RD

Isn’t that what I stated????? perhaps you should read


12 posted on 10/10/2009 4:43:02 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Leisler

Government imposes a law that anybody providing phone service must provide it to all people living in an area, so they can’t skip houses that would cost more to wire up.

Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Is this a reasonable function of government, to ensure that every citizen has access to phone service?

I also think government requires that there not be extra fees for wiring houses up that are in rural areas. Again, is this a good thing? Should government ensure CHEAP access to phone service for everybody?

Of course, nowadays there are many solutions to getting phone service; but the question I think is irrespective of the new technology. I’m not asking if government SHOULD do this, just if this is a reasonable power for government.

I’m tempted to say that yes, government has an interest in ensuring phone service for everybody. But maybe to say no about costs — which in the end would probably be the same as denying service, since if they can charge what it costs, they’d do it without the law, you’d think.

I might think no though, because people in rural areas choose to live there, and should have to foot their own bill; except a lot of people living in rural areas didn’t choose it.

Of course, this all happened long ago. And one thing I AM sure of — if there is going to be a law requiring universal service, EVERY phone provider should have to meet that requirement; it’s not fair for government to impose restrictions on some business and not others.

This is why I, like few other people here, think that if a state charges sales tax, they should also charge sales tax for internet stores, and the feds should set up a way to facilitate that. Not that I want to raise taxes, but because it’s unfair that the guy who opens a corner store has to compete for customers with a store in the next state which doesn’t have to charge sales tax.


13 posted on 10/10/2009 5:24:57 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: 1010RD

Yep, no lobbyists in Washington. Transparent, Honest Government. Really going to take it to “Big Business”.
And they go after Joe Wilson. The whole nation needs to be screaming LIAR at every one of them.


14 posted on 10/10/2009 5:55:44 AM PDT by Steamburg ( Your wallet speaks the only language most politicians understand.)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
This is why I, like few other people here, think that if a state charges sales tax, they should also charge sales tax for internet stores, and the feds should set up a way to facilitate that.

And even if you go into your local store to buy what you need, the store should be required to charge you for shipping. That would make it more fair for internet stores...

/sarc

15 posted on 10/10/2009 5:58:38 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (Liberals are always one genocide away from Utopia.)
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To: Leisler
Is there anything that prevents rural users from using satellite Internet? No.

I used Wildblue for two years. When Alltel put up a tower within my reach, I jumped ship as soon as I could. THAT is competition.

I watch this issue closely because it will impact me eventually. Alltel was eaten by Verizon and if I don't find an alternative ISP in a year it'll mean I get capped to 5000MB a month, which is why I ran from Wildblue.

Caps could be an economy killer, much like +$4 a gallon gasoline. Look at all the applications going online, "cloud" computing, software updates, etc. that require a lot of bandwidth. THIS is the issue to watch.

16 posted on 10/10/2009 6:03:00 AM PDT by Kieri (The Conservatrarian)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"Not that I want to raise taxes, but

Your "but" negates "Not that I want to raise taxes"

17 posted on 10/10/2009 6:06:33 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: Kieri
It wasn't long ago in my area that the only Internet service you could get was dial-up that charged .10 cents an min, it was long distance!
18 posted on 10/10/2009 6:13:21 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: BlueStateBlues

I use google voice every day to make free long distance calls.
Quality is excellent. There are other free services that will create a local number for you in many large cities in the US. Anyone calling those numbers locally will get connected to your phone at home...pretty cool.

Here is an anonymous, auto expiring (or not) free service.
http://inumbr.com/


19 posted on 10/10/2009 6:14:13 AM PDT by Bobalu (I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: Onelifetogive

The store does charge you for shipping. How do you think the product got into the store?

Sure, it costs less to ship in large quantities, but then they have to pay to stock shelves, while the mail order company has a cheap warehouse.

But shipping, storage, stocking, sales force, advertising — these are all business expenses, and businesses can compete by working through these costs and making a better business model.

Taxes are something government claims from the business as a cost of doing business, and taxes should be the same for all businesses. The local company can’t find a way around their sales tax burden, and the internet company shouldn’t be subsidized.

Of course, you could also level the playing field by removing sales tax. However, I do believe there are legitimate requirements for government, that government NEEDS money to perform the jobs it is required to do, and therefore a sales tax, or an income tax, or some other tax, IS necessary for society to exist.

Conservatives are against wasteful spending, against government doing what it isn’t supposed to do, against excessive taxes. We aren’t against taxes altogether. Anarchists are against taxes altogether, because they want government gone.

But conservatives think the military is necessary, police are necessary, laws protecting private property are necessary, courts are necessary, jails are necessary.


20 posted on 10/10/2009 6:15:38 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: NoGrayZone

No, it doesn’t, which is why the statement after “but” provides the reason I want to impose the collection of state sales tax on companies selling into the state from out of state.

Each state can set their own tax rate; they can’t simply slap higher sales taxes on the people (or else they would do so), the people control the government a little more at the state level, and so can fight back.

A state might well lower the sales tax rate overall if they had the additional revenue from internet sales tax. That’s how I’d urge MY senator and representative and local government to react to the law.

I believe taxes should be as minimal as necessary to fund required government services, and should be applied equally to all, not used as incentives or payback or subsidies for favored activities at the expense of unfavored activities.

In this case, the lack of sales tax collection for internet purchases gives internet sales (out of state, employing people out of state) an ADVANTAGE over in-state stores employing people in the state.

Note that most states require their citizens to pay sales tax on internet sales (usually as a “use tax” on your state tax form). And any internet company which also has a single store IN a state is required to collect sales tax on ALL sales to addresses in a state.


21 posted on 10/10/2009 6:21:48 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"Not that I want to raise taxes, but because it’s unfair that the guy who opens a corner store has to compete for customers with a store in the next state which doesn’t have to charge sales tax."

Who forced him to open a store in a state that has sales tax?

22 posted on 10/10/2009 7:11:11 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"No, it doesn't’t, which is why the statement after “but” provides the reason I want to impose the collection of state sales tax on companies selling into the state from out of state."

If you would like to send the government more money, then work to create a "voluntary" tax. That way, you and the others out there who would like to pay even more taxes can do so, voluntarily.....and you can leave us the heck alone.

23 posted on 10/10/2009 7:26:15 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"In this case, the lack of sales tax collection for internet purchases gives internet sales (out of state, employing people out of state) an ADVANTAGE over in-state stores employing people in the state."

I would LOVE to know what you propose to do to people like me who cross state lines to shop in a no sales tax state.

Ummmm, finding and utilizing an advantage over your competition is called DOING BUSINESS. If you can't compete then perhaps you shouldn't be in business.

24 posted on 10/10/2009 7:30:33 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
The local company can’t find a way around their sales tax burden, and the internet company shouldn’t be subsidized.

But the "local" gov't does not supply those services for the internet company. Why should they be paid for services they donot provide?

25 posted on 10/10/2009 9:08:00 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (Liberals are always one genocide away from Utopia.)
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To: NoGrayZone
It is quite possible that your state requires you by law to file a "use tax" for things you bought in another state, if you bring them back into your state.

Most people, even here at FR, frown on following those particular tax laws. I dislike taxes, but feel that so long as government has passed a law which requires a tax to be paid, if I deliberately and knowingly fail to follow that law, I would be a tax cheat, and others who aren't cheats have to pay more taxes to make up for my lack of paying taxes.

Which would make me no better than Geithner or any of the other liberals in this administration who failed to pay their taxes and had excuses.

If you are lucky, you live in a state that does not require you to file tax on yourself if you buy stuff in another state. Virginia has a use tax.

Consumer Use Tax for Businesses (ST-7 PDF 132 Kb)

The use tax applies to the use, consumption or storage of tangible personal property in Virginia when the Virginia sales or use tax was not paid at the time of purchase. The use tax is computed on the cost price of the property, which is the total amount for which the property was purchased, including any services that are a part of the purchase, valued in money or otherwise, and includes any amount for which credit is given the purchaser or lessee by the seller.

As far as "finding and utilizing an advantage", when the advantage is a business advantage, that IS good business. When the advantage is due to government laws that apply inconsistantly, favoring some over another, that is government intrusion in private business, and as a conservative I oppose it.

And to the degree a state wants to encourage people to set up businesses IN the state, where they employ people, and provide business tax, states certainly don't want to have a system where their tax code encourages companies to set up out of state and sell things over the internet.

26 posted on 10/10/2009 10:58:25 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: Onelifetogive

Sales tax is not a tax on business, it is a tax on people buying things from the business. Businesses in the state pay business taxes for the services provided.

Sales tax is for services provided to the people who LIVE in the state. How would you feel if you found out that your next-door neighbor didn’t have to pay government anything for all the services they get, while you have to pay extra taxes to cover both your and his services?


27 posted on 10/10/2009 11:00:19 AM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"It is quite possible that your state requires you by law to file a "use tax" for things you bought in another state, if you bring them back into your state."

Actually, I don't know if it does, nor do I care. I will certainly not be looking into tax laws to see how much more taxes I can pay.

"When the advantage is due to government laws that apply inconsistently,'

Not government laws, state laws. Each state has it's own right to apply sales taxes or not. And every American is free (for now) to travel to any state and purchase goods.

The government and it's excessive taxation can kiss my hiney.

28 posted on 10/10/2009 11:49:27 AM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: NoGrayZone
I will certainly not be looking into tax laws to see how much more taxes I can pay.

That does appear to be a majority opinion here at FR. Just know that these are not voluntary laws, and if you are caught, since you aren't an Obama appointee, you will be punished.

But as many have noted before, there's no chance you could get caught. For myself, I feel character is what you do when nobody could know the difference. But it is taxes, so most people feel it's there job to violate as many tax laws as they can get away with.

29 posted on 10/10/2009 12:21:27 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"For myself, I feel character is what you do when nobody could know the difference. But it is taxes, so most people feel it's there job to violate as many tax laws as they can get away with."

Tell me....what will you do when the government forces all of us, I mean, "passes a law", that states everyone must get the swine flu vaccine? Take it? Or fight the excessive, intrusive, unconstitutional government?

And yes, I do think the "non-tax state laws" you are referring to are excessive, intrusive and unconstitutional. They get plenty of tax dollars from the gasoline I use for my travels, as well as the exceedingly high bridge crossing fees.

Just because I won't allow my government to bleed me dry does not mean I don't have character.

30 posted on 10/10/2009 2:24:36 PM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: NoGrayZone

I don’t know what I’ll do if the government says we must all get the swine flu vaccine.

I’ve been vaccinating my children with every vaccine they have required for school, because my doctor has concurred.

If the swine flu vaccine is made mandatory, but my doctor says it is dangerous, I’ll probably refuse and write a column about it. Then the government can do what they want with me. Of course, I wouldn’t risk getting myself and my children thrown in jail just so I could say $10 on a mattress.

If you want to justify tax evasion by asserting that your state has no constitutional right to impose a sales tax on you, that is your right. And if you want to make that “stand” in secret, that is your right as well.

Most people don’t make the constitutional argument on this matter, as there is little question that state sales tax violates no federal constitutional provision, and no state constitutional provision. And I would imagine such an argument would not only fail in court, but would fail in the court of public opinion.

But I only speak for my own opinion about taxes for which the government requires you to volunteer your information (except occasionally states will go to neighboring states and get information on big-ticket sale items, so they can make examples of people).

I don’t bedgrudge my state it’s sales tax. I want to have police and firemen and roads and zoning laws, and I realise they have to be paid for.


31 posted on 10/10/2009 4:31:54 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"If you want to justify tax evasion"

LMAO!!! Just call me Charlie!!

32 posted on 10/10/2009 4:55:50 PM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: NoGrayZone
This is not a message to you, but a general message I give every time this discussion comes up.

Actually, I don't know if it does, nor do I care. I will certainly not be looking into tax laws to see how much more taxes I can pay.

Ignorance of the tax law is not a legal justification for not paying taxes that are owed. Nobody is likely to turn anybody in, but as citizens, we are called on to understand and follow the laws passed by our elected representatives.

Any time we argue that it is acceptable to ignore the law, or willfully not learn the law, in order to avoid a law we don't feel like following, we weaken the argument for the rule of law. That it happens to be a tax we are discussing doesn't change the principle.

33 posted on 10/10/2009 5:38:31 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT

We don’t have the rule of law. We have the rule of men and they pass “laws” to give the appearance that their looting is legal.

Think on your point that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law. That applies to obvious and objective things like theft or murder or battery, but you’ve likely broken arcane laws that are not a part of natural law - the law you should know.

They make up the legislative nightmare that faces every free person in America. They seek to criminalize normal human behaviors to the benefit of the few with the power to pass laws.

Government is a transfer system. It transfers wealth from those without political power to those with political power. Paying for this process isn’t some honor.

You’d better read up on our Founders and how our nation came to be. This is not the America they envisioned.

Secondarily, a tax-free Internet provides a bulwark against additional capricious tax increases against brick and mortar stores. Think about it. As a conservative, do you really believe that government as it exists today is a) necessary and b) that by giving it more of what it craves (power/money) it will reform itself?


34 posted on 10/10/2009 8:22:35 PM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: driftdiver
Isn’t that what I stated????? Not clearly, but if it is what you meant, after reading the article, then I stand corrected.
35 posted on 10/10/2009 8:25:51 PM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"or willfully not learn the law,"

And just what do you suggest? That we check into the new laws, passed on an almost monthly basis, to see what we're doing wrong this time? THAT is absurd!

You go live in that kind of world. I'll stay in my "free for now" one.

36 posted on 10/10/2009 9:23:26 PM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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To: CharlesWayneCT
"Any time we argue that it is acceptable to ignore the law, or willfully not learn the law, in order to avoid a law we don't feel like following, we weaken the argument for the rule of law. That it happens to be a tax we are discussing doesn't change the principle."

They get enough from me already. Sometimes, you have to grow a spine and say enough is enough. If I choose to go to another state for tax free goods, my states police and fire persons will not go without.

As I've said, they get PLENTY from me already. Enough is enough.

37 posted on 10/10/2009 9:29:20 PM PDT by NoGrayZone (Where's The Birth Certificate)
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