As noted by Washington Post's Cecilia Kang, AT&T has been in again to beat up on Google Voice. What I found interesting was the ex parte notice filed by AT&T after the fact (copy here). While it has the Net Neutrality Docket Nos on it, it does not have the docket numbers for the actual proceeding on call blocking (07-135 for them what care).
Perhaps AT&T accepts Google's explanation that Google Voice is an information service? Since the FCC has asked whether to apply its proposed network neutrality rules to information services other than broadband access, it would still be relevant in this docket. I also can say, being a veteran of many ex parte filings, that it is easy to slip up and forget a docket no.
But it is also consistent with AT&T's overall strategy of trying to duck substantive issues and debates on network neutrality and bring in a host of proceedings that don't belong — other than as opportunities to try to make this about Google rather than about substance. Certainly there are plenty of folks out there objecting to the network neutrality proposals. For the most part, however, they appear to be following the advice of Commissioner Clyburne and others in urging commenters to focus on issues and not invective. While I certainly disagree with Verizon, Comcast and others who say that a rule is unnecessary, or harmful, or beyond the FCC's authority, these are relevant and substantive arguments that need to be addressed in a serious manner.
Happily, AT&T appears to be the only provider still consistently harping on the theme that it is “all about teh Google” and that therefore anything Google does is somehow relevant to network neutrality — even when it legally isn't. That AT&T still has not taken any actual steps to take legal action — such as filing a petition for declaratory ruling — is more telling than the failure to file their most recent ex parte on the subject in the right docket. But the fact that AT&T saw fit to raise the Google Voice call blocking as a centerpiece of a meeting with the Chairman's office on net neutrality, while neglecting to file the ex parte in the actual docket on call blocking, underscores what is going on here.
So, as I said before, if AT&T cares about the actual issue, they should file a Petition for Declaratory ruling and get in line behind us — since we've now been waiting two years for a resolution on our Petition for Declaratory Ruling on text messaging. And, if AT&T will take a word of advice from a party opponent, you might want to ease back on how Google Voice is an affront to the law of God and man, and focus a little more on the actual rule.