A Wi-Fi service provider has agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission $750,000 for blocking personal mobile hotspots used by convention visitors and exhibitors so they could avoid paying the company’s $80-per-day fee.
Smart City Holdings automatically blocked users from using their personal cell phone data plans to establish mobile Wi-Fi networks, according to a statement published Tuesday by FCC officials. After the FCC took action against Smart City Holdings, the company pledged to stop the practice and pay the $750,000 fee to settle the matter.
It’s the second enforcement action by the FCC taking aim at the blocking of FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections. In October, Marriott Hotel Services reached a $600,000 agreement with the FCC to settle allegations it interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi networks established by consumers in the hotel’s conference facilities in Nashville. In January, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory that stated unequivocally Wi-Fi blocking was prohibited. Taken together, the moves should put hotels, convention centers, and just about everyone else on notice that it’s unlawful to block FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections.
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