Menu
Wi-Fi provider kicked users off their own hotspots at conventions

Wi-Fi provider kicked users off their own hotspots at conventions

Smart City will have to pay $750,000 to the FCC as a result

Smart City, a provider of Internet services at convention centers and hotels, will pay the U.S. Federal Communications Commission $750,000 for kicking users off their personal hotspots to try and force them to use its Wi-Fi service.

The FCC's Enforcement Division found that at five venues across the U.S., the Smart City network sent coded messages called de-authentication frames to devices connected to personal hotspots, such as those created by smartphones.

The messages are sent by Wi-Fi base stations to terminate connections and in doing so, the FCC believes Smart City was trying to force users to pay its $80 daily fee for Internet connectivity.

"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 FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, in a statement.

The FCC said the convention centers in question were in Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Orlando, Florida; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Smart City said that until it was contacted by the FCC in October 2014, it had no idea that its practice was considered unacceptable under federal regulations.

"We have occasionally used technologies made available by major equipment manufacturers to prevent wireless devices from significantly interfering with and disrupting the operations of neighboring exhibitors on our convention floors," said Mark Haley, President of Smart City, in a statement.

"This activity resulted in significantly less than one percent of all devices being deauthenticated and these same technologies are widely used by major convention centers across the globe as well as many federal agencies," he said.

The FCC said the blocking was initiated on hotspots that broadcast above a certain predetermined power level and was not in response to any specific security threat to Smart City's network.

It said Smart City stopped the practice after learning of the FCC's investigation.

It's not the first time the FCC has taken a corporation to task for blocking personal hotspots.

In October last year, the FCC reached a similar agreement with the Marriott hotel chain to pay $600,000 for blocking personal hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville. There, the hotel was charging customers and exhibitors from $250 to $1,000 per device to access Marriott's Wi-Fi network.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments