FCC Says Verizon Must Respond to Free Press Tethering Complaint

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

FCC Says Verizon Must Respond to Free Press Tethering Complaint

Free Press will commit to public disclosure of ex parte communications, and hopes Verizon will adhere to the same level of transparency

WASHINGTON - On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission issued an official notice of Free Press’ complaint that Verizon’s blocking of tethering apps violated the terms of the company’s C-Block spectrum license. The FCC’s action requires a written response from Verizon to the merits of the complaint.

Prior to yesterday’s action, communications with the FCC on the merits of Free Press’ complaint were prohibited. After procedural objections were raised by public interest organizations and law professors, the FCC has now opened the file to permit Free Press, Verizon, and others to speak with the FCC. However, as the complaint is treated as “exempt,” parties are not required to file ex parte notices after they’ve met with the Commission. Additionally, because the FCC has not yet assigned a proceeding number to the complaint, written comments cannot be made part of a public Commission record.

Free Press commends the FCC for opening the tethering complaint for discussion, encourages all interested stakeholders to weigh in with the agency, and pledges to disclose notices of its presentations to the FCC on the merits of the complaint. Should the FCC subsequently assign a docket number to this proceeding to establish a written public record, Free Press will voluntarily file notices of ex parte communications.

Free Press Political Adviser Joel Kelsey made the following statement:

“We’re pleased the FCC has agreed that the public interest is best served when multiple stakeholders have an opportunity to express their view before the agency. The Commission’s action marks the start of a longer public review of Verizon Wireless and Google’s practice of limiting and restricting consumers’ use of legal applications. Many individuals and organizations are impacted by these practices, and we hope they will all make their voices heard.

“Although it is not required, Free Press will commit to filing public notices after each meeting we have with the Commission regarding our complaint, and we challenge Verizon Wireless to the same level of transparency. We hope that the Commission assigns a docket number to this proceeding in order to allow our notices and other written filings to be collected together and made publicly accessible.”

Go here for more about Free Press’ complaint: http://www.freepress.net/press-release/2011/6/6/complaint-shows-verizon%E2%80%99s-failure-comply-terms-spectrum-licenses

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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