An ISP that provides telecommunication and Internet services for hotels, conventions, and meeting centers has been fined $750,000 by federal regulators. The ISP known as Smart City was slapped with the hefty fine for blocking personal WI-FI services of convention exhibitors and visitors who did not use its services. The company blocked the personal Wi-Fi of these subscribers in an underhanded scheme to force them to subscribe to Smart City Wi-Fi services instead of using services from other ISPs. It has also emerged that the company charged these exhibitors and visitors exorbitantly to use their services too.
The FCC released a statement castigating Smart City for blocking consumers from using their personal Wi-Fi services provided by other ISPs. The regulator also castigated the company for then charging them exorbitant fees to subscribe to its Wi-Fi services. The commission also sent a warning to other companies doing the same thing that the practice is illegal and put them on notice to stop such behavior.
Smart City Second Company Fined By FCC For Blocking Wi-Fi
According to the evidence provided to the FCC, Smart City charged visitors and exhibitors that were not subscribed to its network $80 a day to access Wi-Fi services. Those that did not pay the exorbitant charges opting to use services from other ISPs were automatically blocked by the company. These claims against Smart City have been with the FCC since June 2014. The claims resulted from investigations done in some venues where the company provided Wi-Fi services. The venues were in convention centers in Orlando, Ohio, Cincinnati and Phoenix.
The FCC ruling against Smart City is the second of its kind. In October 2014, the FCC fines Marriott Hotel Services Inc. and Marriott International Inc. for similar Wi-Fi blocking offenses. The Fine against Marriott was slightly less at $600,000 but still enough to hopefully deter other companies from doing the same. Obviously, Smart City did not get the memo. Now, other companies will hopefully get the message that the FCC is seriously against Wi-Fi blocking following the ruling against Smart City.