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These lawmakers, including Steve Buyer, an Indiana Republican and John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican -- who have received a combined $200,000 from AT&T and Verizon over their careers, according to -- have written to the FCC complaining that Google's refusal to connect expensive rural calls is "ill conceived and unfair to our rural constituents." The FCC is set to open an investigation to determine if that's true, according to Dow Jones, and will formally notify Google of the inquest later Friday.

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AT&T has never been happy about that, and it's now livid that Google Voice can avoid having to connect such calls -- thus dodging this twisted fee scheme.

On Thursday, after much sniping between AT&T and Google, the dispute reached Congress: A group of 20 House Republicans and Democrats wrote to the FCC urging it to investigate Google's right to block calls to rural telephone exchanges.

AT&T, which has the exclusive right to market Apple's i Phone in the U.

After Congress and President Bill Clinton deregulated the phone industry with Telecommunications Act of 1996, rural areas came to receive their service primarily from two types of local carriers: an ILEC, for "incumbent local exchange carrier," the local phone companies that predated the Ma Bell breakup; or a CLEC, for "competitive local phone exchange," companies that emerged after the industry was deregulated.

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In response, the search giant has said, "Unlike traditional carriers, Google Voice is a free, Web-based software application, and so not subject to common carrier laws." But those 20 lawmakers have challenged that notion.And for the coup de grace, the local exchanges then split AT&T's fees -- which amount to millions of dollars every month -- with the phone sex companies which then turn around and use that money to advertise their services, completing the self-perpetuating cycle.In 2008, AT&T warned that traffic pumping could force higher rates for phone consumers across the country to offset some $250 million in extra costs due to these fees the previous year.Thanks to FCC rules, AT&T is obligated pay these fees to the local phone exchanges to connect the calls, primarily to local numbers in Iowa and South Dakota, but in other rural states as well.In recent years, volume to these local numbers has increased dramatically, with phone numbers being used by free conference-call companies as well as sex chat lines with names like "Butt Monkey." Ron Laudner, CEO of Farmers Telephone, a local exchange in Riceville, Iowa, last year told the arrangement was routing some 40 million minutes of calls each month to his exchange, generating $2.2 million per month.Despite what a handful of lawmakers may say, the dispute between Google (GOOG) and AT&T (T) over the search giant's Google Voice application is not so much about fairness or rural access as it is about steamy phone sex and piles of money.