On Sunday, I submitted a story entitled "Telcos block FreeConference phone numbers". I am posting this journal entry as a follow-up comment.
My original submission was about an email that FreeConference.com sent out to all of its customers. In the email, FreeConference.com claims that AT&T/Cingular, Qwest, and Sprint are blocking access to some of the phone numbers that are used by them to provide free conference calls.
It seems that more free conferencing services, including FreeConferenceCall.com, are affected by this blockage, as reported by the public interest groups U.S. PIRG and PennPIRG. The public interest groups report that AT&T has sued at least one of the free conference call services, claiming that this service is causing them to lose revenues.
Um, yes, when someone provides better service at far lower cost or even free, AT&T is going to lose revenue. As PennPIRG puts it, "AT&T/Cingular should not hold consumers hostage in their billing dispute with free conference call services".
FreeConference.com has now sent out another email to all of its customers, stating that the telcos are only blocking access to "a small set of numbers to one of our many conferencing bridges," and that they are "running our business with minimal interruptions." There is more information on their FAQ.