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FCC Dings Verizon on 4G App Blocking

Dan Jones

5:50 PM -- Oh, hey! Remember the 4G open access rules attached to the auction of the 700MHz C-band spectrum block from way back in 2008?

The ones that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) fought so hard to get in place that were supposed to stop the spectrum owner from blocking access to devices and applications on the network?

Well, Verizon Wireless has settled with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the tune of $1.25 million over allegations that it was blocking tethering applications in the Android market.

"This case was the first of its kind in enforcing the pro-consumer open access obligations of the C Block rules," says P. Michele Ellison, the FCC's enforcement bureau chief in a statement. "It underscores the agency’s commitment to guarantee consumers the benefits of an open wireless broadband platform by providing greater consumer choice and fostering innovation."

The wheels of government didn't exactly spin quickly on this one, but Verizon now has to stop blocking any tethering apps that connect other devices to the Internet via a user's smartphone.

Of course, $1.25 million is mere pocket money for a company that just reported a $1.83 billion profit for the second quarter. Still, it's nice to have some loose ends tied up on an issue that users have been complaining about for years now.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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12/5/2012 | 5:25:16 PM
re: FCC Dings Verizon on 4G App Blocking

Not sure $1.25M is really a big deterent for  major carrier though.

12/5/2012 | 5:24:58 PM
re: FCC Dings Verizon on 4G App Blocking

An interesting aspect of this is that it appears an individual Verizon employee's actions were what triggered the FCC investigation. And you've got to admit that keeping thousands of employees under control to prevent net neutrality violations is a challenge. As part of the settlement, Verizon agreed to provide training to employees about the C-block requirements and to run correspondence with applications providers by its legal department first.

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