The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a $25,000 fine against Hilton Worldwide Holdings for the company’s obstruction of the Commission’s efforts to investigate charges of Wi-Fi blocking at Hilton Hotels.
According to a Notice of Apparent Liability for forfeiture issued in early November 2015, the Commission issued Hilton a letter of inquiry in late 2014 in connection with its investigation of complaints by consumers that the company’s hotels intentionally blocked access to guests’ Wi-Fi hot spots unless they paid a $500 fee. However, Hilton has allegedly failed to provide information requested by the FCC for the vast majority of hotels under investigation. Hence, the proposed fine.
The Communications Act expressly prohibits persons or companies from intentionally blocking Wi-Fi communications. In October 2014, Marriott International paid the FCC a $600,000 fine to settle charges that it illegally jammed mobile Wi-Fi hot spots at the company’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.