A group of rural telcos in Iowa were roundly lambasted by larger telcos earlier this year for carrying the traffic of so-called free conference call services over their networks, and terminating the call on VoIP connections, thus bypassing public long-distance networks. The practice, known as traffic pumping, riled AT&T to the point that it began blocking calls from services such as FreeConference.com. Other large telcos began to do the same, and FreeConference.com sued AT&T.
Last month, the Federal Communications Commission said AT&T didn't have the right to block such calls, and now FreeConference.com has dropped its lawsuit. It's doubtful, however, that this controversy is over. The small telcos and the large long-haul players still have a score to settle: There's no word yet on whether the Iowa telcos will be compensated for the calls that were blocked, or if big and small telcos will lock legal horns over the issue.
- GigaOM has the latest on the dropped lawsuit