November 3, 2015
Hotels in trouble for dirty WIFI tricks
The FCC has this week slapped Hilton Hotels with a fine for blocking their customers from using their own WIFI hotspots. While this is a very welcome development, perhaps the bigger crime is that Hilton were charging $500 for the use of their own network. The fine is relatively small, only $25,000 (which means that if they can con another 50 customers into paying for their WIFI, they’ll have paid it back), but Hilton are not helping their own case. This fine is in part due to the fact that the FCC requested information from Hilton about their practices almost a year ago, and have still had no response. If this continues, so will the fines.
About the only thing Hilton Hotels have going for them in this case is that their WIFI is generally regarded as very good. In a recent New York Times article, it was revealed that the New York Hilton Midtown had the best and most reliable connection according to hotelwifitest.com. This is a very useful site for travelers looking to do some homework on the availability of WIFI in the country they are headed to.
Meanwhile, the FCC are to be applauded for continuing to monitor the occasionally sketchy behavior of some hotel chains. Marriot were fined $600,000 in 2014 for similar practices, and their attempts to lobby the FCC for the right to block customers’ hotspots have failed so utterly that they have given up trying.
WIFI hotspots are a very useful resource, for travelers and domestic users alike. The ability to share a signal with several devices means that you don’t have to take turns using the web. For more information on how to get hold of a WIFI hotspot, take a look here.