Crime & Courts

Feds fine Smart City $750,000 for blocking internet access at conventions

Smart City

Smart City, a company that provides internet services to convention centers around the U.S. has been busted for blocking people from using their personal internet providers.  People who wanted to access the web from their smart phones at convention centers were required by Smart City to pay $80 for one day of service.

Attendees who did not pay the fee in favor of using their already established wifi providers found that their access was blocked by Smart City.

“It is unacceptable for any company to charge consumers exorbitant fees to access the Internet while at the same time blocking them from using their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots to access the Internet,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the Federal Communication Commission’s enforcement bureau, in a news release. “All companies who seek to use technologies that block FCC-approved Wi-Fi connections are on notice that such practices are patently unlawful.”

This is the second time that the FCC has had to respond to complaints of internet blocking by big businesses.  In October 2014  Marriott International Inc. and Marriott Hotel Services Inc. were fined for blocking people’s personal cellular services.  Also the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville were fined $600,000 for similar Wi-Fi blocking activities.

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