Editor's Note: If you are going to provide a public service, it has to be available to all the public. Period. Even a Brooklyn boy like me knows that as much as I may have differences with the rural individual, they are as entitled to proper services as much as I am, regardless of how large his or her municipality is.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A group of Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives called on the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Google Inc's ability to block calls to rural telephone exchanges.
Google's Voice service is at the heart of a dispute between the world's largest Internet search company and Apple Inc over why Google's voice application is not available on the popular iPhone.
AT&T Inc, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the United States, has argued that Google would have an unfair advantage if Google's Voice service is not subject to the same rules applied to phone operators.
Google said Apple rejected it. But Apple said it was still studying it because the application alters the iPhone's telephone functionality and user interface.
"We are formally requesting an investigation by the FCC into the nature and function of Google Inc's voice service," the lawmakers wrote in an October 7 letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
An FCC spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter. The FCC has already sought information from Google, Apple and AT&T, the biggest U.S. telephone carrier.
Citing media reports, AT&T has said the Google Voice service was blocking costly calls to phone numbers in certain rural areas in order to cut down on expenses. Phone companies are banned from blocking calls.
Google has said it is not a traditional phone service because it is a Web software tool and should not be regulated like telephone companies.
In the letter, the lawmakers including House Energy Commerce Committee members Steve Buyer, an Indiana Republican and Charlie Melancon, a Louisiana Democrat, said they find Google's position "ill conceived and unfair to our rural constituents."