Google Voice is arguably the US equivalent to Spotify. Nothing but good things have been spoken about the service and international Google fanatics are waiting enviously for the day Google announces international availability.
The bad news is that no date is confirmed. The good news is that it’s definitely coming, agreements are in place and Google let it slip in a PDF letter that was apparently “formatted improperly” to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In the letter, that Business Week managed to get a peak at, Google claim that the service has 1.419 million users, 570,000 of whom use it seven days a week. No problems there. What it also mentions then intentionally retracts is that it has signed contracts with a number of “international service providers for inputs to Google Voice”, more than a hint that the service may well go global shortly. It does however add that none of these services have been launched yet.
The reason the FCC launched its investigation into Google Voice earlier this month was after AT &T and others raised concerns that Google is blocking certain calls in rural parts of the US, thereby undermining the principles of net neutrality.
The regulator then sent Google a letter asking it to explain how Google Voice works and why it is blocking calls, a practice prohibited by the FCC.
While most of the statement was geared toward dealing with FCC inquiries into how Google Voice actually worked, it also of course addressed the concerns with the blocked numbers.
Google explain that all numbers are blocked for a reason – most notably some 100 numbers are barred in connection with a massive sex chat billing scam, as well as some rural areas that account for just 1.1% of their operating traffic – yet would cost as much as 25% of their operating funds.
AT&T has repeatedly accused the service of violating net neutrality rules by blocking the numbers, while Google has maintained that it is using a perfectly legal method which other carriers employ to stop billing scams – oh the drama.
Image from Voices