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Verizon accused of violating FCC rules by blocking Nexus 7 from its 4G LTE network

Verizon Net Neutrality Controversy Nexus 7

Surprise, surprise: Verizon is being accused of ignoring the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on what it can do with its spectrum. Jeff Jarvis says that Verizon so far has refused to hook his unlocked Nexus 7 tablet up to its LTE network because the device is “not part of our lineup and can’t be activated.” As Jarvis notes, this seems to violate the regulations the FCC placed on Verizon when it first won the rights to operate on the 700MHz spectrum that it uses for much of its LTE network.

Some quick background: Way back in 2008, the FCC sold off several valuable chunks of spectrum on the 700MHz band and Verizon won the lion’s share of licenses for the so-called “C Block” of spectrum that just happened to be the most valuable in the entire auction. As part of the auction, the FCC slapped several open-access rules on the “C Block” that mandated Verizon allow any devices to connect to its LTE network and that barred it from blocking any applications on its users’ devices.

Jarvis notes that the FCC’s rules are written very clearly and leave little wiggle room for Verizon to not allow his Nexus 7 onto its network. What’s more, he says that the Nexus 7’s LTE radios have been designed to run on Verizon’s 700MHz spectrum so there’s really no technical reason for the company to bar the device.

“So this is not a matter of anything Verizon cannot do,” he writes. “This is a matter of what Verizon will not do. And that is what makes this a violation of FCC regulations and Verizon’s assurances.”

For its part, Verizon says that the Nexus 7 is not yet “Verizon 4G LTE certified” and that it will let customers know when the device passes through certifications. Jarvis incredulously responds that the Nexus 7 was launched almost two months ago and that he can’t believe Verizon is just now getting around to starting the certification process for it.

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