FCC Clarifies: Hotels Cannot Block Use of Personal Hotspots

The Federal Communications Commission has clarified that hotels cannot block other mobile hotspots while guests are on the property. That, the FCC is, is a violation of Section 333 of
the Communications Act.

The ruling actually confirms what some argue, namely that network neutrality rules probably are not needed to prevent many forms of potential anti-competitive behavior. The FCC has for years adhered to policies that prevent blocking or interference with lawful apps.

So despite some popular rhetoric, blocking or slowing down rival apps is not a problem that requires additional authority. The FCC already has such policies in place.

Internet freedom, in the sense of the ability of any consumer to use any lawful app, is not really an issue the FCC is unable to address with current tools, some would generally argue.

Where the debate actually does involve new concepts is the existence and use of content delivery networks or caching networks that improve content or application latency, as used all the way to end user devices. Such content delivery networks routinely are used by applications over the wide area network.

It’s good that the FCC has clarified, once again, that blocking is not lawful in the consumer Internet domain. But the action also shows that “blocking” of lawful apps is not a problem, even is some claim it is.
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