WiFi hotspots are virtually everywhere now, and when they aren’t readily available, users still have the option of tapping into their own personal internet connections through the hotspot feature on their phones or through their own personal and portable WiFi hotspots. Tools like these can be a godsend in locations where their is no WiFi connection or in places like hotels where access to the WiFi is only opened up if you pay a fee. These tools only remain useful though if certain establishments don’t block the use of your WiFi signal while on their premises. This is exactly what was happening with the Marriott International Hotel chain and precisely why they had to reach a settlement with the FCC for around $600,000.
Following this settlement from months ago, the FCC has issued a warning this morning to any other companies that may be considering the act of blocking personal WiFi signals from operating, and that in doing so would result in penalties as it is illegal and in violation of section 333 of the Communications Act. What the FCC is doing here is trying to protect the use of personal WiFi hotspots as they view it as an important asset for customers in trying to connect to the internet. We wouldn’t disagree with them on this.
This warning is also being issued in response to other complaints being filed against businesses attempting to block personal WiFi, which has also prompted the FCC to conduct further investigations into the matter. This could result in more fines for any involved establishments pending the information and findings of the FCC. Although the argument for such tactics is that businesses are trying to do what they can to prevent any sort of security risks from manifesting, the FCC isn’t buying it and is convinced the reasoning for implementing a plan to block personal WiFi use by customers is so that they can advance their own personal gain with in-house WiFi access fees. The FCC is taking a strong stance on this matter and doesn’t seem to be backing down, although the Marriott International as well as other companies are doing what they can to try and convince the FCC to alter their WiFi policies, so that the shady practice of blocking personal WiFi might one day be acceptable. Luckily for consumers, the FCC isn’t likely to make those changes.