FCC Forces Verizon To Allow Tethering Apps

Posted by at 12:00 pm on August 1, 2012

The FCC has determined that Verizon has been violating the “open access” rules of its 700 MHz spectrum by blocking third-party Android apps that allow tethering a phone to a laptop or other device for Internet access.

The rules for the C block of the upper 700 Mhz band state that the owner (Verizon) must allow consumers to use data any way they like. Verizon uses the spectrum for its 4G LTE network. This decision marks the first major enforcement of the open access rules. Verizon must pay a $1.25 million fine and start allowing tethering apps. The apps can be used to circumvent Verizon’s usual $20/month tethering charge, although Verizon will still force users to subscribe to a “usage-based” pricing plan that will charge users for data regardless of whether it involves tethering.

Verizon will also be forced to train its employees on compliance with the open access rules.

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