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Developer
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I know there are a few hostile gentlemen out there that are anti-tethering in this community and a another group that are pro-tethering. I have a few topics of discussion for everyone related to the case FCC complaint filed by Free Press vs Verizon related to restricting customers abilities to make choices. Feel free to diverge the conversation to whatever you want, but I figured I'd just get it started.

1. Should you have to pay the tethering fee?

2. If you have an unlimited data plan or stay under your current plans limit, should you still have to pay a tethering fee if you bypass it?

3. Should you have to buy their tethering software?

4. Why should their software be immune to free market rules allowing someone else to produce it for cheaper and/or better?

In my opinion, you shouldn't have to pay a tethering fee unless you want it to be separate from your data used (ie: phone data / tethering data). I don't currently tether my phone, but I also barely scratch the surface of my unlimited data plan that Verizon offered me just to get the friends and family plan where I could add numbers to my phone and call them without worrying about going over my minutes. Should you have to? No. I think they could put it in the stores or on the phones and let people decide which one they want to buy. Price it competitively, I know they would probably just put it on their phone the same way Microsoft puts IE on their OS. So why haven't they been hit by an Antitrust lawsuit yet? Oh well, guess we're not in Europe.

tl;dr Talked about thALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
 

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THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN ANDROID
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223 Posts
I don't really see anything wrong with carriers saying hey if you want to tether then you need to buy this one time app from us. Just a one time fee. Or at least lower the monthly subscription for tethering. But honestly the issue is not really tethering per say. See there are people who tether and I mean they tether, they connect their laptops, PC, Mac, and mostly their game systems in order to play online. All this and by the end of the month they have used up around 20GB of data off of their "unlimited plan."

I think this is where carriers draw the line... because if the majority of people did this then I could see the network becoming bogged down. Especially since people will then view it as a reason to rid themselves of high speed internet. No need to pay for both when you can tether your phone and use a 4G network connection. A vast majority of people would do this, hell can't really blame them either. Do I understand where carriers are coming from? Yes. Do I think they currently charge to much? Yes. Do I think people would abuse it more than they already do? Most certainty.
 

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Average Android
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93 Posts
This is how I look at it. Carriers should not be able to charge you for tethering. You already pay for the mobile data, so why should you have to pay for it twice? Do you think that the FCC or consumers for that matter would let Home Broadband companies charge you to hook a router up to your home network? In my eyes if i am paying for a service I should be able to use it however, whenever, and on whatever device that i see fit to do so.
 

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Android Apprentice
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54 Posts
crash1781 said:
This is how I look at it. Carriers should not be able to charge you for tethering. You already pay for the mobile data, so why should you have to pay for it twice? Do you think that the FCC or consumers for that matter would let Home Broadband companies charge you to hook a router up to your home network? In my eyes if i am paying for a service I should be able to use it however, whenever, and on whatever device that i see fit to do so.
I believe at point they were charging if you hooked a router up....or at the very least it was in the works to do so. In the name of almighty greed I would not put anything past any business to go to any measure to suck out more from any single person, without batting an eye or twitching in the least bit. How do you argue against something with no conscious...
 

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Average Android
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75 Posts
My stance on tethering is if we are paying for an unlimited data plan then we should not have to pay extra for a capped tethering plan. Honestly I never tethered my phone but I do use over 10 gigs of data a month easily, I download lots of files through my phone when I'm on the fly daily, including streaming Netflix and GPS usage for work.

With that said, people that literally tether their phones to their 360's for online games pulling over 40+ gigs a month made my data numbers look trivial and imo is overkill and silly. It's thanks to people like this that tiered data plans are being pushed. It's one thing to do a bit of tethering, it's another to take advantage of a good thing.
 

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THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN ANDROID
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223 Posts
I see the argument with routers as being practically the same thing.. but essentially I can't take my router to my friends house 6 blocks down the road and power his gaming system with it when he currently has no internet connection in his house. Where as I could take my data enabled smart phone down there and power his gaming system with it. So you pay for home broadband but it essentially stays in your home. Sure some neighbors may be able to leach off of it ... but not like they could mobile data...

I could be an average user and not set a PW on my tethering app... so I start it up and then you have 10 people around you who notice its availability on whatever device they are trying to connect and now they all are using your data... its like going to Starbucks and using their internet connection free...

I do think that carriers are price gouging users... I think they go excessive with fees and rules at times... and I do think you should be able to use something you pay for to the full extent .. but everything has to be within reason ...
 

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Android Apprentice
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18 Posts
did i when i couldnt afford cable logged 2 tb that month. I have a family plan 4 phones with three iphone data plans unlimited text and like 1400 minues i pay close to 235 a month i should be able to do whatever i want on there network
 

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Android Apprentice
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25 Posts
The moment comcast tries to charge me for using a router in my house, is the moment I start my own internet company to be unlimited and battle the tiered transformation we're all changing into.
 

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Developer
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When I lived in Wisconsin, I believe they said I had to rent their wireless router for $5 a month if I wanted to have multiple connections (I believe, it's been a while). I just ended up telling them I was only going with one computer and plugging my own in, because I'd much rather use my own brand of router that has my own features than the one they choose. They don't offer USB tethering with the Verizon tethering program do they? I mean that seems kinda unfair to choose which computer of mine I can use tethering on.
 

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Android Apprentice
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40 Posts
An interesting read!

Any lawful device: 40 years after the Carterfone decision
By Matthew Lasar | Published 2 years ago

Two score gone

Forty years ago today the Federal Communications Commission issued one of the most important Orders in its history, a ruling that went unnoticed by most news sources at the time. It involved an application manufactured and distributed by one Mr. Thomas Carter of Texas. The "Carterfone" allowed users to attach a two-way radio transmitter/receiver to their telephone, extending its reach across sprawling Texas oil fields where managers and supervisors needed to stay in touch. Between 1955 and 1966, Carter's company sold about 3,500 of these apps around the United States and well beyond.



In the end, however, Carterfone's significance extends far beyond the convenience that Thomas Carter's machine provided its users over a decade. It is no exaggeration to say that the world that Ars Technica writes about was created, in good part, by the legal battle between Carter, AT&T, and the FCC's resolution of that fight-its Carterfone decision. The Carterfone saga starts as the appealing tale of one developer's willingness to stick to his guns. But it is really about the victory of two indispensable values: creativity and sharing.

Neither just nor reasonable

The dominant telephone company in the United States fiercely opposed Carterfone. AT&T and the last surviving independent telco, the southwest's General Telephone, told their customers that they should not use the attachment because it was a "prohibited interconnecting device." To be fair, that was true, legally speaking. Americans bought the vast majority of telephone equipment from AT&T's Western Electric company because they had to, specifically because of FCC Tariff Number 132: "No equipment, apparatus, circuit or device not furnished by the telephone company shall be attached to or connected with the facilities furnished by the telephone company, whether physically, by induction or otherwise."

Thomas Carter thought that this was bunk. He took AT&T and General Telephone to federal court, arguing that their warnings to consumers represented a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. In 1966 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed that they would decide the suit -but not before the FCC reconsidered Tariff Number 132. The agency then appointed an investigator to look into the matter.

AT&T may have thought it had an ally in the FCC circa 1966, but that was no longer the case. The Commission had been chastened by an earlier controversy over a device called the Hush-A-Phone. This ridiculous proceeding involved AT&T's objection to a small plastic receiver snap-on which allowed business phone talkers to chat more quietly. The FCC took an astounding seven years to thoughtlessly back Ma Bell on the issue, only to see its decision slapped silly by an appellate court. "To say that a telephone subscriber may produce the result in question by cupping his hand and speaking into it, but may not do so by using a device which leaves his hand free to write or do whatever else he wishes, is neither just nor reasonable," the bemused judges observed in 1956.



Now the best that AT&T's clever lawyers could do was convince the FCC to let them write a new policy with a codicil allowing for non-electric applications like Hush-A-Phone. But the phone giant still insisted that Carterfone posed a danger.

It was June 26, 1968 when the FCC acted on Carterfone. Robert F. Kennedy had been buried two weeks earlier. In Czechoslovakia, followers of the "Prague Spring" fought against Communist rule. Students revolted against mindless bureaucracies at Columbia University, in Paris, in Seoul, in Mexico City. In these stormy times almost no one noticed as the FCC's Commissioners quietly rebelled against the world's biggest telco, unleashing the future.

Unlawful in the past

Before explaining the FCC's Carterfone decision, it should be noted that the historic ruling should not have been necessary. AT&T should never have been allowed to own Western Electric in the first place. President Harry Truman's Attorney General tried to undo this monopolistic wrong in the late 1940s. But, as the telecommunications historian Gerald Brock notes, during the early Cold War AT&T pleaded for anti-trust relief in the interest of national security. Its endlessly ingenious attorneys argued that a full fledged anti-trust decree would disrupt the corporation's management of Sandia atomic weapons Labs-this at the height of the Korean War.

And so in 1956, the corporate-dominated Eisenhower administration settled for a "Consent Decree" with AT&T. The deal "enjoined and restrained" the phone giant and its subsidiaries from doing anything except providing common carrier service or, in the case of Western, manufacturing components for anything besides common carrier service. In other words, the AT&T monopoly had been contained, to borrow the old Cold War phrase, but still wielded overwhelming power over the nation's telecommunications system. Two years after the consent decree, Thomas Carter began selling his Carterfone machines.

When the FCC finally ruled on Carterfone, the agency said that it had considered five questions. Did the public need Carterfone? What impact did it have on the ability to the telephone system to provide interstate service? Did Tariff 132 correctly apply to the device? Should it? Or, if not, what action should the Commission take now?

To questions one and two, the FCC delivered clear and decisive answers. The public indeed benefited from the application. It did not harm the publicly switched telephone system. But the agency went much further than simply giving Carterfone a waiver. This time the FCC ruled that although Carterfone did violate Tariff 132, that was not the attachments' fault.

"We hold," ruled the Commission, "that application of the tariff to bar the Carterfone in the future would be unreasonable and unduly discriminatory. However... we also conclude that the tariff has been unreasonable, discriminatory, and unlawful in the past, and that the provisions prohibiting the use of customer-provided interconnecting devices should accordingly be stricken."

AT&T fought on. Its lawyers tried to get state utility commissions to override Carterfone within state boundaries, but the FCC insisted that the policy overruled state regulators. The telco insisted that companies could only exercise their newly won Carterfone rights if the applications that they developed connected to the network via an AT&T approved linking device. Eventually the agency declared these plug-ins unnecessary. For a while AT&T tried to charge a fee for using the non-AT&T telephones that consumers could now use thanks to Carterfone. But as Brock points out, most customers "simply plugged them in and ignored the notice that the local telephone company should be notified before using the telephone."

Within a few years of the FCC's Carterfone decision, America had become a motley world of funny receivers, slick switch boxes, and rickety answering machines. More importantly, consumers quickly embraced the "modulate/demodulate" device, otherwise known as the telephone modem. A 1999 FCC policy paper noted the significance and justly gave the agency credit for the proliferation of this application. "The Carterfone decision enabled consumers to purchase modems from countless sources," the agency concluded. "Without easy and inexpensive consumer access to modems, the Internet would not have become the global medium that it is today."



Carterfone's progress

Take a look at the FCC's best rulings, and there you will find Carterfone. You will find it, for example, in the agency's 1998 decision to let consumers pick and choose their own cable set top boxes. "Subscribers have the right to attach any compatible navigation device to a multichannel video programming system," the Commission declared. "We conclude that the core requirement, to make possible the commercial availability of equipment to MVPD subscribers, is similar to the Carterfone principle adopted by the Commission in the telephone environment."

Carterfone is inherent in the FCC's 700Mhz auction Block C concept, with its requirement that consumers can connect any broadband device to that portion of the mobile phone spectrum. Carterfone is basic to the proposal that a merged XM/Sirius must let developers build any kind of receiver linking to the new broadcaster, including receivers that also play mp3 files and connect to the Internet.

But a good idea doesn't enforce itself. If Skype's petition to the FCC asking the agency to apply Carterfone principles to the mobile Internet prevails, it will be because hundreds of thousands of citizen/consumers have made it clear to the government that it must. It is not acceptable, as Skype argues, for the big telcos to use their influence over handset design "to maintain control over and limit subscribers rights to run software communications applications of their choosing." But it won't actually be unacceptable unless consumers exercise enough control over the regulatory process to make it so.

In the end, Carterfone says that it is our telecommunications system, not AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast's. We finance the system with our subscription, application, and investment money. We support it with utility easements, regulatory breaks, and government contracts paid for by our taxes. We make it work because we are its workers. We make it exciting with our innovations, technical and social, big and small.

We do not begrudge the CEOs of these great corporations their legal positions. But they are, as Andrew Carnegie would put it, stewards of the system, not its owners. They are not there to tell us to Go Away. They are there to keep the system running while we discover it, use it, develop it, innovate it, game it, finesse it, and reinvent it to our heart's content. The great enterprise of telecommunications is no better than our right to participate in it as individuals.

That is the meaning of Carterfone. Ars Technica wishes all our subscribers and readers a happy June 26th. Happy Carterfone Day.

Original article found HERE.
 
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