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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Free or Illegal?

Received this letter from FreeConference.Com yesterday:

Dear FreeConference User:

AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, and Qwest Are Blocking Your Conference Calling

As of Friday, March 9, it's come to our attention that Cingular Wireless has begun blocking all conference calls made from Cingular handsets to selected conference numbers. If you call our service, you receive a recording that says, "This call is not allowed from this number. Please dial 611 for customer service".

Earlier this week, Sprint and Qwest joined in this action, blocking cellular and land line calls to these same numbers. This appears to be a coordinated effort to force you to use the paid services they provide, eliminating competition and blocking your right to use the conferencing services that work best for you.

Don't Let AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, or Qwest Take Away Your Right to Use the Conference Service of Your Choice!

We Need Your Help! Please Take the Actions Below:

Whether you are one of their customers, or an organizer who is being impacted by these uncompetitive actions, please file a complaint with the FCC or send an email to your State Attorney General to complain about this monopolistic practice to limit the choices of consumers.

You can also let these companies know how you feel about their attempt to block competitive services:

  • Sprint Customers can click here or dial *2 from their Sprint Phone

  • Cingular Customers can click here or call 1-888-333-6651

  • Qwest Customers can click here or call 1-800-860-2255

Your FreeConference Team remains steadfastly committed to bringing you simple, convenient and reliable conferencing services at the lowest cost possible. We appreciate your support in this endeavor.

Your FreeConference Team

Seth Godin wrote about this posing the situation as "monopolies vs everybody else" and then updating it with a information from a reader that remains to be validated.

As a FreeConference user, and of other tools that are available for free on the web, I like "free".

I also understand that "somebody" is really paying the bill as the economic principle TANSTAAFL comes to play here. Oh, you don't recall what TANSTAAFL means? That's okay: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

I need to do more research on this to find out who is right, if that is possible. The Telco's have a reputation of doing it for self preservation.

Google search for news on this.
Google search for blogs on this.

If you find or have any good information on this, please let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email.

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Comments on "Free or Illegal?"


Blogger Phil Gerbyshak said ... (9:30 AM) : 

Originally I was pretty darn fired up about this, and think self-preservation is a bad reason to do things. Look at how DSL has fared to see what self-preserving telcos have done.

We'll see how things play out, but this is going to get ugly before it gets fixed.


Blogger Steve Sherlock said ... (1:30 PM) : 

yes, Phil. This situation will be one to watch closely. Hard to say right now who is in the right based upon the available information.


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