FCC complaint filed over Verizon’s tethering plan

Campaign group Free Press has filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claiming that Verizon is violating the rules governing its LTE license.

The complaint relates to claims that Verizon has reportedly asked Google to disable tethering applications on Android devices. The license stipulates that licensees may not ‘deny, limit or restrict’ customers’ ability to use whichever device they choose.

But, says Free Press, Verizon’s request to Google aims to do just that. By preventing customers from downloading tethering applications from the Android Market, it says, Verizon is restricting not only the applications available to them, but also limiting the use of tethered devices such as laptops or tablets.

“Verizon’s conduct is bad for the public and bad for innovation. It also appears to be illegal under the FCC’s rules that govern Verizon’s LTE network,” says Free Press policy counsel Aparna Sridhar.

“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. Instead, Verizon’s approach is to sell you broadband but then put up roadblocks to control your use of it.”

The rules were introduced in 2007, and Verizon argued against them at the time.

“Having lost that policy battle but won the auction for the spectrum licenses, Verizon has adopted a new regulatory strategy: simply ignore the rules on the books,” says Sridhar. “The Commission must move quickly to investigate and stop these harmful practices.”