Earlier this year consumer group Free Press a href=”http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/115592″accused Verizon of violating the conditions attached to spectrum Verizon acquired in the 2007 AWS auction. By blocking embedded tethering functionality on some phones, Free Press argued, Verizon was violating the open access conditions imposed on the spectrum those phones used. But as we’ve noted repeatedly, the consumer protection conditions imposed on that spectrum are largely meaningless and a href=”http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/86657″riddled with loopholes.
Why are they riddled with loopholes? Because like most telecom industry regulation they were crafted with more than just a little input from Verizon lobbyists, then painted with a coat of PR paint to make them appear consumer friendly and actually useful. This week a piece over at XDA Developers again tries to also argue that Verizon is violating the conditions by locking smartphone bootloaders:
The open access provision requires Verizon to not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee s C Block network. … Verizon bought Block C and tried to have the provisions removed. They failed. The provisions are still there, Verizon has the Block C license. That means if a device uses the Block C frequencies, Verizon cannot insist what apps or firmware it runs. It also means they can t limit data plans for those devices.
Except…not. As a follow up piece at Android Police correctly notes, those open access conditions can be easily bypassed if Verizon simply argues that whatever they’re doing was necessary for the safety and integrity of the network. With an FCC that has made it clear that a href=”http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Verizon-Google-Announce-Their-Net-Neutrality-Solution-109810″don’t support consumer net neutrality protections for wireless devices, there’s simply no protections (outside of PR embarrassment) in place to protect consumers on this front. Still, people keep assuming that because Google pitched the provisions they simply must be good; though these folks seem somewhat unaware that since 2007 — Google chose to sell all their network neutrality principles a href=”http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/109870″down the river.