Iowa phone cooperatives take Google to court - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowa phone cooperatives take Google to court


SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- You could call it a case of David versus Goliath. Two small phone companies from the Iowa Great Lakes are taking search engine giant Google to court along with the Iowa Public Utilities board.

Great Lakes Phone Cooperative and the Superior Telephone Co-op take issue with the relatively new Google Voice and the fact that it's trying to block calls to their service area.

Friday, Great Lakes stated its case to Federal District Court Judge Paul Zoss. Great Lakes is hoping Zoss will issue an injunction to stay in business, by now allowing the Iowa Public Utilities Board to take back telephone numbers they were assigned back in 2005.

Here's the catch. In court, through testimony it was discovered that Great Lakes applied for local phone numbers to be issued in Milford and Lake View, Iowa. But that didn't happen, instead those numbers were issued in Spencer, Iowa, which is a violation of state law, and according to the FCC is grounds for the numbers to be revoked.

If the revocation happens, thousands of people across the country will be disconnected, and Great Lakes will go out of business.

Lawyers for Great Lakes argue the Iowa Public Utilities Board doesn't have the authority to take back the thousands of numbers issued to the company, as they stated they would do by early December.

Arguments continued until 5:00 Friday, and the Judge didn't make a decision on the injunction. But lawyers for Great Lakes say that injunction is their life line right now.

Could this be part of a huge fraud scheme on the part of the local telephone exchange companies charging long distance companies higher rates? Lawyers at Friday's hearing, for Sprint and Qwest say 'yes.'

Stay with NewsChannel 4 and as we continue to follow the case.

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