Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

More Fines

FCC Stays Vigilant in Fighting Wi-Fi Blocking

The Federal Communications Commission continues to pay close attention to consumer complaints of Wi-Fi blocking at hotels and convention centers. Its Enforcement Bureau announced plans to levy a $718,000 fine against M.C. Dean, Inc., for blocking consumer Wi-Fi connections at the Baltimore Convention Center on “dozens of occasions in the last year.” An electrical design-build and system integration firm, M.C. Dean, Inc. provides electrical contracting for communications, voice and data networks in convention centers, among other facilities.

In a strongly worded statement, M.C. Dean disagrees with the decision and intends to challenge the FCC action, which it claims is “legally and factually flawed.” The company believes it “acted in good faith and in compliance with applicable law.”

At the same time, the FCC said it will fine Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., $25,000 for “its apparent obstruction of an investigation.” The hotel company had failed to provide the FCC with information and documents about its Wi-Fi management practices that had been requested in November 2014, following consumer complaints about blocked visitor Wi-Fi hotspots. The FCC also warned Hilton that continued obstruction or delay may result in a significantly higher fine.

This follows the FCC’s first enforcement action for Wi-Fi blocking in October 2014, a fine of $600,000 against Marriott International, Inc., and Marriott Hotel Services, Inc. The next action came in August 2015, when Smart City Holdings, LLC, was fined $750,000 for blocking Wi-Fi at convention centers across the U.S.

Back in January 2015, the FCC issued an enforcement advisory specifically prohibiting Wi-Fi blocking, which violates Section 333 of the amended Communications Act. It outlined what is prohibited, what consumers should do if they suspect Wi-Fi blocking, and points of contact at the FCC. You can report incidents of Wi-Fi blocking at www.fcc.gov/complaints or 1-888-CALL-FCC. — Maxine Golding

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ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

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MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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