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August 18, 2015

FCC: Convention Centers Cannot Block Personal Wi-Fi Devices




Today, the United States Federal Communications Commission announced a $750,000 fine against Smart City Holdings for blocking Wi-Fi hotspots at convention centers across the country.

According to tech website Gizmodo, Smart City provides telecom services for conventions, meeting centers, and hotels all over the country and charges an $80 fee for a single day of Wi-Fi service. That, in and of itself, is not illegal, but the FCC decided that other corporate actions were: The investigation found that, if exhibitors or visitors to the convention centers did not pay this $80 fee, Smart City would automatically block users from accessing the Internet when they instead attempted to use their personal cellular data plans to establish mobile Wi-Fi networks – or “hotspots” – to connect their Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the Internet. 

“It is unacceptable for any company to charge consumers exorbitant fees to access the Internet while at the same time blocking them from using their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots to access the Internet,” Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said in a statement. “All companies who seek to use technologies that block FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections are on notice that such practices are patently unlawful.”

As part of the settlement, Smart City will cease its Wi-Fi blocking activities and will pay a $750,000 civil penalty.

This is the FCC’s second major enforcement action regarding Wi-Fi blocking. In October 2014, the FCC fined Marriott International, Inc. and Marriott Hotel Services, Inc. $600,000 for similar Wi-Fi blocking activities at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. 


What do you think of this $type?
 


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