Jarvis not only publicized Verizon's stance on his popular blog, but also complained to the Federal Communications Commission that Verizon was violating its promise to follow open Internet principles on the 4G/LTE network. At the time, Verizon said that it was in the process of “certifying” the Nexus 7 -- a process it expected to complete soon.
As of this week, however, the telecom still hasn't certified the Nexus 7 as fit for the 4G/LTE network. The delay prompted a new FCC complaint from Jarvis. “If the Commission does not order Verizon Wireless to immediately accept the Nexus 7 onto its network and if Verizon does not suffer consequences for its recalcitrance in this matter, then the FCC’s policies and orders on open networks will be rendered toothless and meaningless,” Jarvis wrote to the FCC on Tuesday.
The FCC's neutrality rules ban all broadband providers (wireline and wireless) from blocking sites or competing applications. The rules also prohibit wireline providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination. Those rules are facing a legal challenge from Verizon. But even if the rules are struck down, Verizon is bound to adhere to open Internet principles on the LTE network. That's because the company agreed to follow such principles as a condition of its 2008 acquisition of “C” block spectrum, which it uses for LTE.
For its part, Verizon now says that Google and Asus asked that the certification process be suspended until the new Kit Kat operating system is launched. But Verizon critics point out that the Nexus 7 already works on the LTE network, provided a user replaces the device's SIM card with one that's already been activated by Verizon.
The dispute has some observers questioning whether Verizon is blocking the Nexus 7 in hopes of selling its own new tablet. Others say the delay illustrates the type of problems that arise when carriers wield the power to exclude particular devices.
Matt Wood, policy director at the consumer advocacy group Free Press, says that current rules allow carriers to employ a “reasonable” certification process. But, he adds, there's a danger of abuse. “When Verizon is in charge of deciding when and how a problem has been resolved, it seems like there's a lot of opportunity for them to slow down the process,” he says.