FCC states blocking Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal2015-01-29 10:23 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, Wi-Fi, hotspot
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued an enforcement advisory that warns hotels and other businesses that blocking personal Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal and could be followed by heavy fines.
The warning comes as a result of a dispute between hotel chain Marriott and its customers who complained that the company had blocked their personal hotspots to force them to pay for Marriott's Wi-Fi services.
"The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment's premises," the FCC wrote. "As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference. Persons or businesses causing intentional interference to Wi-Fi hotspots are subject to enforcement action," the commission added.
In October, the FCC fined Marriott with $600,000 for blocking Wi-Fi hotspot use at one of its convention centers in Nashville, Tenn. Marriott stated that it did this for the sake of guests' safety from "rogue" hotspots. However, this argument rung hollow as the hotel charged more than $250 for access to its own Wi-Fi network.
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