In May of last year, our free ride came to an end. US carriers started blocking third party tethering apps in the Android Market. Not long after, the built in feature was turned off on most phones. Our fortune may be reversing, however. The FCC has ruled that Verizon violated the rules governing the C Block of LTE spectrum by preventing consumers from using any application of their choice. The end result: Big Red will have to open up its airwaves and allow customers to circumvent its $20 a month tethering plan using apps from the Play store — so long as you’re on a “usage-based pricing plan.” Though it’s not explicitly stated, we assume that means those of you lucky enough to be grandfathered in to the unlimited data plans are left out. In addition to unblocking apps such as PdaNet and Barnacle, Verizon must pay a $1.25 million settlement to put an end to the investigation. For a few more details of the plan put in place to ensure compliance with the ruling, check out the PR after the break.