A resounding “No.”
On Tuesday, the FCC ruled that any individual or business that intentionally interferes with or blocks Wi-Fi hotspots will be subject to “enforcement action.” Lee Slaughter noted the FCC even noted that Marrott’s excuse that past blocking helped the company better secure its own networks against hacking and other attacks was a weak one and purposely pointed out that this ruling also applies to attempts to “force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network.”
This is a huge win for conference and trade show vendors and hosts, as well as business travelers and vacationers, who rely on their personal Wi-Fi services for providing them with inexpensive entertainment and information or to process credit card sales transactions. Before this ruling, some hotels and convention centers would charge their customers thousands of dollars after purposely blocking personal Wi-Fi connections.
What does this mean on a broader level?
Other businesses that also offer paid Wi-Fi connectivity to customers, such as cafes, restaurants and transportation companies, also won’t be able to interfere with or block personal Wi-Fi hotspots. Sadly, this ruling also means that companies will try to recoup losses in other ways, such as by charging higher fees for other services.