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Technically, the dispute is over FCC regulations governing how long-distance and local phone companies pay each other for traffic that passes from national to local networks.Since Congress deregulated the telecommunications industry in 1996, much of this traffic comprises extremely lucrative sex chat lines, which the national carriers wind up paying for."We are formally requesting an investigation by the FCC into the nature and function of Google Inc.'s voice service," the lawmakers wrote in their Oct. "A company should not be able to evade compliance with important principles of access and competition set forth by the FCC by simply self-declaring it is not subject to them without further investigation." Set aside for the moment the fact that most of these lawmakers have received over their careers hundreds of thousands of dollars from AT&T and Verizon (VZ) in campaign and PAC donations.
But why all the interest in Google Voice from AT&T, Congress and now the FCC?
After all, Google Voice is available by invite only, and only a relative handful of people are using it. And why is AT&T expending so much energy to create roadblocks to its tiny new rival?