Business Week reports that Google has handed over information about the number of users of its Google Voice communication service to the FCC, as well as a list of the companies that route the calls sent via Google Voice. It also outlined plans to expand the service beyond the US. Google Voice, which provides a single phone number that can be used to reach a person on their work, home or wireless handset, has 1.419 million users, of which 570,000 use it seven days a week.
The FCC had asked for information about the service after AT&T complained that Google Voice was unfairly blocking calls to certain numbers in rural areas. Though the number of Google Voice customers was redacted in the version that was made public, BusinessWeek reviewed the information in the redacted sections. ‘We had intended to keep sensitive information regarding our partners and the number of Google Voice users confidential,’ Google said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, the PDF submitted to the FCC was formatted improperly.’ As a result some of the ‘sensitive information’ was available on the regulator’s website for a brief amount of time.
In the public section, Google admits to blocking certain connections to numbers in rural areas in a bid to reduce expenses. ‘In August 2009 Google Voice began the practice of restricting calls to certain high-cost destinations,’ Google said in the letter, arguing that because it is not a traditional phone service provider it should not be subject to the regulations that require phone companies to connect calls to any number.