Verizon Wireless has to write a $1.25 million check to the U.S. Treasury as part of a consent decree with the FCC issued earlier this week regarding the agency’s recently concluded investigation into whether the operator “fully complied with the FCC’s ‘C-block rules’ requiring licensees of C-block spectrum to allow customers to freely use the devices and applications of their choosing.” Comments FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, said, “(Our) action demonstrates that compliance with FCC obligations is not optional. The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum.” The background: The commish launched the investigation after reports suggested Verizon Wireless successfully requested that Google block Verizon’s customers from accessing tethering apps from its online market. Verizon Wireless also must notifying Google that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering apps to C-block network customers. Consumer watchdog Free Press had told the FCC in a filing that “by preventing customers from downloading these applications that allow customers to use their phones as mobile hotspots, Verizon violated conditions of its 700 MHz C Block licenses, the spectrum in which Verizon operates its LTE service. When Verizon purchased the licenses, it agreed to abide by conditions that it not ‘deny, limit or restrict’ its customers’ ability to use the applications or devices of their choosing.” Adds FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, “I thank Free Press for filing an informal complaint to bring this our attention. I also commend Michele Ellison and her staff at the Enforcement Bureau for entering a strong consent decree"…The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on its proposed regulations governing the Technical Panel and dispute resolution boards established by Congress to facilitate the relocation of, and spectrum sharing with, U.S. government stations in spectrum bands reallocated from federal use to non-federal use or to shared use. While lauding the agency’s expertise, TIA questioned NTIA’s proposed definitions for “non-federal user”: “A narrow definition would, for example, exclude non-licensed spectrum users who want to participate in the dispute resolution process. Non-licensed users are significant stakeholders in the process and should not be denied access to the process. TIA argues that any party with interest should be able to participate in the process as a non-federal user and should have the ability to raise the issues it may have."

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