FCC to hotels on WiFi blocking: it's illegal, don't do it

Marriott may have dropped its WiFi-blocking efforts, but that doesn't mean the FCC has forgotten about its petition and the WiFi-blocking habits of some other companies. In a warning issued today as an "FCC Enforcement Advisory", the agency made it clear that it is not acceptable to jam others' WiFi hotspots regardless of whether you're an individual or a company, and it specifically pointed toward hotels as an example. In addition, the FCC called hotspot-jamming actions a "disturbing trend" that must stop.

Because of the "disturbing trend" the FCC has noticed regarding companies blocking their patrons' hotspots, the commission has said it will be both "aggressively investigating and acting against" any instances of this, and that anyone or any company caught in the act of WiFi jamming will face "enforcement action".

By blocking WiFi hotspots, companies and other entities are violating Section 333 of the Communications Act. The FCC points specifically toward its investigation of Marriott International last year for blocking hotspots in a case that ultimately led to a substantial fine of $600,000 USD.

Since that investigation took place, the FCC says that it has received complaints about other commercial entities that might also be jamming hotspots, and that those instances are being investigated. And just to make things clear, the commission laid out exactly what is prohibited: the intentional blocking or disruption of personal hotspots.