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App Flap: Free Press Takes Verizon Criticism to Hill

Free Press, which says Verizon is violating the terms of use of the reclaimed broadcast (C block) spectrum it bought at FCC auction, is taking its case to Capitol Hill. Verizon counters that it has done nothing wrong.

That so-called C block of spectrum has open-access conditions on it that require Verizon to open its network to outside devices and applications.

In letters to the leadership of the House and Senate Commerce Committees Thursday, Free Press argues that reports that Verizon Wireless and other carriers got Google to restrict access to free tethering applications in the Android Market--those apps turn smart phones into their own free, mobile wi-fi hotspots--means that Verizon is violating that open access requirement on its spectrum.

Verizon says it was Google, not Verizon, that removed the apps. "Verizon does not block applications," the company said in a statement. "Google manages its own applications store, evaluated the applications in question, determined that they were in violation of it terms of service and removed them."

Verizon may not have removed them, but they wanted them removed. A source familiar with the application take-down says that Verizon pointed Google to those apps as a violation.

Free Press had already filed a complaint at the FCC over what it saw as a violation, but now wants the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee to look into it.