The FCC’s recent ruling against Comcast may have struck a powerful blow against carriers prohibiting Phone As Modem usage, or require more expensive plans to have such utility.
Since carriers started cracking down on users who chose to use their phone as a modem, hackers have fought back. For years, we’ve chronicled ways to bypass Phone As Modem restrictions on Sprint and Verizon. These carriers have required customers to purchase more expensive plans, to have the same functionality that they previously had. Initially, both Sprint and Verizon had no restrictions on using their 3G networks with Phone as Modem utility.
Of course, the legality of said hacks has been questionable, ever since the carriers revised their Terms of Service to ban using phones as modems without lucrative, specialized plans. Enter the FCC…
The FCC last week ruled that Comcast was in violation of its licenses by interfering with BitTorrent traffic. While the FCC’s ruling was nebulous at best, it was the first major win for the Net Neutrality supporters. Essentially, the FCC is taking the position that, so long as network activity is not abusive, that a carrier cannot interfere with such traffic.
And, that appears to apply to wireless as well. Taking the BitTorrent example to wireless, how is a web page different when it is viewed in Safari on a Mac, versus viewed on an Instinct or iPhone? The same pages are loaded, the same data is used.
As such, it appears that you can now feel validated in the eyes of the federal government, for bypassing any restrictions on using your phone as a modem. Of course, several questions still remain, namely, if the FCC has the authority to enforce Net Neutrality, or if that authority falls under the purview of congressional legislation.
But, for now, we will be stepping up our coverage of phone-as-modem bypassing.