Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Ends Tethering Fees Dispute with $1.25 mln Settlement

A dispute and subsequent investigation by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission pertaining to charges of Verizon Communications Inc.(NYSE:VZ) blocking Internet access between devices has been ended by the Commission accepting a $1.25 million settlement from the telecom company on Tuesday.

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Phone companies used to charge extra fees for sharing of internet access between devices but Google and Apple work with carriers to provide applications that can circumvent these fees.

A year ago a public-interest group, Free Press, complained to the FCC, that Verizon had asked Google to withhold such applications - called tethering software - to block Internet sharing access. This had prompted the investigation by the FCC.

Verizon Wireless, joint venture between Verizon Communications and Britain’s Vodafone Group, told the FCC that it did not block customers from using third-party applications.

It said that Tuesday's settlement, “puts behind us concerns related to an employee's communication with an app store operator about tethering applications."

Customers had complained that Verizon usually ended up charging them twice for the same service as tethering fees - even those who paid for data based on their usage.

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