FCC complaint filed by consumer group over Verizon blocking tethering apps

June 7, 2011
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A consumer group called Free Press has filed a complaint with the FCC against Verizon Wireless for its practices on tethering concerning apps that allow third party tethering. The group alleges that Google blocked tethering apps in the Android Market at Verizon's request. Verizon is denying any wrongdoing.

Free Press claims that when Verizon requested the Google block tethering apps in the Android Market that Verizon violated conditions of the FCC license when it purchased 700MHz spectrum for 4G service. Specifically the consumer group claims that Verizon violated terms that said it could not "deny, limit, or restrict" the ability of the customer to use apps or devices of their choosing on the network.

"Users pay through the nose for Verizon's LTE service, and having done so, they should be able to use their connections as they see fit," Free Press policy counsel Aparna Sridhar said in a statement. "Instead, Verizon's approach is to sell you broadband but then put up roadblocks to control your use of it." Google had previously stated that tethering app Wireless Tether was removed at the request of wireless carriers.

[via PCMag]


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  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    alright google, whom do you work for, the people, or the corporations?

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    alright google, whom do you work for, the people, or the corporations?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FUMRUOES7MHR3Q7L37ZMPSXLAY passinthru

    I think their tack should be to complain about the providers charging twice for the same data, once when you pay for your broadband and again when you direct that same signal at another system.

  • FCC Watchdog

    Free Press’s complaint to the FCC about Verizon’s block on tethering will be without merit based on prior complaints about monitoring LTE usage.  Sharon Bowers, FCC Complaint Chiefs, declined two complaints about Verizon prioritizing or SIM-stacking LTE users after the first 30 days or customer return period. Verizon is prioritizing customer’s SIMs if they generate revenue from partner content or on-deck apps.  Despite the tethering restriction, Verizon favors linking to mobile hotspots because of the gaming and entertainment revenue. Verizon prioritizes users through its VZAM that is Smith Micro’s QuickLink software.  Smith Micro develops gaming software and links devices to Microsoft Windows Live.  The FCC’s Complaint Chief Sharon Bowers wrote that the FCC accepts  carrier’s tests of coverage and does not evaluate customer access regardless of submitted logs of disconnects or access denials.   Ms. Bowers contends that FCC oversight is carrier coverage and not customer access.  The FCC’s coverage instead of customer oversight is ominous for the AT&T scrutiny of acquiring T-Mobile.   The FCC also is allowing carriers to collect up to 15% surcharge for the Universal Services Fund (USF).  A customer terminating LTE for disconnects is funding the carrier to build more network that does not work.