Company Joins AT&T/Cingular and Qwest Communications as Last Carrier to Discontinue Illegal Call Blocking
LOS ANGELES, CA — April 13, 2007 — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Joining carriers AT&T/Cingular and Qwest Communications, Sprint Nextel has discontinued its actions to illegally block consumer and business calls to free conference calling services, including FreeConference®, a service of Global Conference Partners™.
Responding to an outpouring of complaints from consumers, non-profits and businesses which depend on the affordable costs of free conferencing services, the major U.S. telcos have quietly stopped blocking access to numbers used by these services. According to published reports, the Federal Communications Commission said it had received more than 1,000 such complaints. As a result, all the major carriers have agreed not to block any calls for now, said FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper.
Frank Tamborello, Executive Director of Hunger Action Los Angeles and Co–Chairperson of the Coalition said, “We started using FreeConference several years ago when a group of grass–roots people wanting to address hunger in our state could no longer afford to pay the exorbitant rates of other teleconference systems. Using FreeConference allowed us to continue our organizing. These blocking moves by the large carriers have been appalling.”
Consumers access these conferencing services by making toll calls through various carriers, generating new demand for long distance services and therefore generating additional revenues for carriers. Typically, these carriers retain about half of the revenues they collect, sharing the other half with rural telephone companies that pay a modest marketing fee to services such as FreeConference. FreeConference generates revenues both from these fees and from premium services paid for directly by its customers. This business model creates low-cost services for consumers, incremental revenues for long distance carriers, and additional business opportunities for rural telephone companies that otherwise rely on the Universal Service Fund to close the gap between the higher cost of service in rural areas and what they can generate through local–to–local calling services within their networks.
“Blocking access to these services is illegal and unconscionable,” said Alex Cory, CEO of Global Conference Partners, parent company of FreeConference. “We’re driving millions of dollars in revenues to the carriers through services like FreeConference. For them to illegally block these calls and to argue they are losing money is ridiculous. In fact, carriers, rural telephone companies and FreeConference have been using this model for years with everyone benefiting.”
Cory added, “It is encouraging that the voice of the consumer has truly made an impact on this issue. Users understand that these services are legal, reliable and efficient and ultimately are there to give them better choices and add value to their long distance services.”
FreeConference® is a service of Global Conference Partners™. Founded in 1985, Global Conference Partners has continuously advanced new telecommunications technology solutions to bring highly automated, enterprise quality conferencing services to businesses and organizations that want top-tier performance at little or no cost. Flagship sites www.freeconference.com, and www.globalconference.com are serving millions of customers worldwide with simple, convenient, and reliable teleconferencing services. For more information, please visit www.globalconferencepartners.com.