FCC strikes again on Wi-Fi blocking: Hilton, big electrical contractor fined thousands

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is patently unlawful for any company to maliciously block FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections.” 

As the exclusive provider of Wi-Fi access at the Baltimore Convention Center, M.C. Dean charges exhibitors and visitors as much as $1,095 per event for Wi-Fi access, the FCC said.  The Commission last year received a complaint from a company that provides gear that enables users to establish hotspots at conventions and trade shows. 

“The Commission today charges M.C. Dean with violating Section 333 of the Communications Act by maliciously interfering with or causing interference to lawful Wi-Fi hotspots,” according to the FCC.

HILTON FACING WI-FI BLOCKING FINE TOO

In an unrelated case, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau proposed a $25,000 fine against Hilton Worldwide Holdings, for apparently getting in the way of an investigation into whether Hilton too tried to block consumers’ Wi-Fi devices. Hilton is being directed “to immediately provide essential information and documents about its Wi-Fi management practices and warns the company that it may face a significantly higher fine for any continued obstruction or delay.” 

This investigation stems from an August, 2014 consumer complaint stemming from an incident at an Anaheim, Calif., Hilton that allegedly blocked consumers’ Wi-Fi if they didn’t pay Hilton a $500 access fee. The FCC also received complaints regarding other Hilton properties. The FCC has been waiting about a year for Hilton to cough up information, and thus the fine, with a threat of more to come.

MORE: Has FCC "gone off the rails" with latest WiFi blocking fines?

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