FCC to hotels: blocking Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal!

The Federal Communications Commission has issued an “Enforcement Advisory” that prohibits hotels and other businesses to block Wi-Fi access points created by their guests. The advisory comes after Marriott had asked the body to let it block unauthorised Wi-Fi APs created by its guests.

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to put an end to the practice and on Tuesday issued a public enforcement advisory warning hotel chains and other commercial establishments that intentionally blocking or interfering with Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal.

“In the 21st Century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet,” writes the organization in the opening paragraph before bluntly saying that “Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal.”

Back in October 2014, Marriott was fined $600,000 by the FCC after the hotel blocked personal Wi-Fi hotspots created by guests in its Nashville, Tennessee branch. While the hotel paid the fine, it requested FCC for permission that will allow it to ban unauthorised Wi-Fi networks. The move was criticised by Google and Microsoft, which ultimately led Marriott to promise that it would not block Wi-Fi APs created by its guests.

Today’s decision from the FCC should finally dash all hopes of Marriott. If the company is still found blocking unauthorised Wi-Fi networks, it will have to pay heavy monetary fines, which will be even worse than the $600,000 it had paid the first time around.

What do you think ?

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