Two people work on their laptops at the 29th Chaos Communication Congress.
Don’t block the hotspot. It’ll cost you.
The Federal Communications Commission warned Tuesday that hotels, convention centers and businesses cannot block personal Wi-Fi hotspots in order to make people buy Internet service.
The enforcement advisory comes after Marriott was fined $600,000 for knocking people offline who tried to use their cell phones as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Marriott and other hotel operators lobbied the FCC to change its rules. Technology rivals Google and Microsoft allied against the hotels.
The FCC, which called Wi-Fi “an essential on-ramp to the Internet,” said it received several complaints of Wi-Fi blocking after the Marriott fine was announced.
Federal law prohibits the sale or use of jamming equipment that might disrupt Wi-Fi or cell phone signals.
People who suspect that Wi-Fi blocking can file a complaint with the the FCC on its website or by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC.
Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.