FCC Forces Verizon Wireless to Allow Third-Party Tethering Apps on Android

Verizon Wireless customers have reason to celebrate today, at least the ones using Android devices. Following an investigation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that VZW is not allowed to block third-party tethering apps on Android devices, and must also pay a $1.25 million fine to settle the investigation.

"Today’s 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," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The massive innovation and investment fueled by the Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and applications. The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice, but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services and apps without fear of being blocked."

Thanks to the FCC, Verizon Wireless can't request Android app stores block tethering apps like PdaNet (shown above).

Big Red uses the C-block spectrum for its 4G LTE service. According to the FCC, VZW acquired the C-block spectrum with the full understanding that it was accompanied by open device and application obligations. With this ruling, Verizon is obligated to notify Android app stores and inform them it no longer requests that third-party tethering apps be blocked, such as PdaNet.