Free Press and Version Restrictions
Technology is constantly advancing and changing, and so are the regulation big businesses put on those technologies. Cell phones no longer only call people, they are so advanced that they can take pictures, videos, play games, connect to the internet, tether other devices, and do tons of other tricks that weren’t possible 10 years ago. As discussed by Free Press, with these advancements in technology also come restrictions that hurt the consumer. One such restriction comes from Verizon Wireless and their constraint on their users tethering options. According to Free Press, “by limiting access to tethering applications is not just a bad business practice and bad policy choice; it also deliberately flouts the openness conditions imposed on Verizon’s LTE spectrum.” By doing this, Verizon is limiting its customer’s access to other applications. They are charging an extra $20-30 to have access to this tethering option. Originally Verizon promised it would not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of its customers to use the devices and applications of their choice—however they restrict users from one of the most useful applications that a smart phone offers. With the restriction of applications like tethering, it opens doors for Verizon to start restricting a variety of other tools.
Verizon has opened up a very interesting topic for debate among Internet users. This restriction of tethering could very well bring about the equal restriction of other websites. Although according to the FCC, companies are not allowed to restrict certain websites to users otherwise known as net neutrality, (preserving open access to the Internet and a level playing field for all websites, whereby all content would be treated equally), Verizon is coming extremely close to breaking this agreement. Very easily Version could “block access to Google Maps or Map Quest and force its users to rely on their own Verizon Navigator mapping service” (89). Just like with the restriction of the tethering option, this would create a two –tier Internet where access is limited by a user’s ability to pay and would allow wireless service providers to discriminate against any site it chooses. So with this very real problem beginning to occur in the Internet realm, the FCC needs to take control and make sure Net neutrality stays a priority.