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Optical/IP Networks

AT&T, Apple & Google

9:10 AM -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's letters to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) about blocking the new Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Voice application are definitely signs of a new broom at the government agency.

After all, carriers have blocked applications like Skype Ltd. before (although, ironically, the VOIP package is a top application for the iPhone). Didn't hear too much about those issues until Obama's new team was onboard, did we?

The Google Voice app allows users to make cheapo phone calls and add some presence-type features to their phone service: For instance, you can choose which callers are routed to your home phone or cellphone, while callers can use your "Google Number" to reach you wherever.

This whole issue seems indicative of operators that are too focused on the past and not looking forward to data-intensive packages. I wonder when carriers are going to start to get serious about data plans and VOIP services. Voice is still the cash cow at the moment, but for nearly every carrier data is the growing segment.

So when are they going to start to look at stranding out packages for different types of data users? The gamer, the regular browser, the texter, the music downloader, the VOIP caller, and more. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and other network tools make it easier than ever to find out what type of traffic is on the network and bill for it.

As far as I know, only Verizon Wireless has said that it is considering moving from the unlimited data package model (usage caps aside) to something more stranded. If data continues to grow, however, and voice continues to shrink, then it is going to become a bigger issue and VOIP software running over the network is going to start to look less significant.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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