Verizon Wireless has found itself in the midst of a fresh round of legal complications as media reform group Free Press complained to the Federal Communication Commission on Monday that the wireless service provider is violating FCC guidelines by preventing users from using third party tethering apps.
According to the complaint, Verizon asked Google to block third-party tethering apps on the Android mobile OS.
If this allegation is true, it may be a direct violation of the FCC's net neutrality conditions, which the company agreed on in 2008 while licensing a large portion of the 700 MHz broadband spectrum in an auction.
Tethering applications are mainly used for connecting a smartphone to other devices such as laptops or desktop PCs, for broadband access.
“If users wish tether their phones, they are forced to subscribe to the carriers’ own tethering service at rates of up to $30 per month,” the complaint filed by Free Press claimed.
“In Verizon’s case, limiting access to tethering applications is not just a bad business practice and a bad policy choice; it also deliberately flouts the openness conditions imposed on Verizon’s LTE spectrum,” it added.
Free Press also appealed to the FCC to issue an order to all concerned wireless services providers to stop blocking third party tethering apps.