November 5, 2015
Partner Joshua Guyan was quoted in the Law360 article “FCC Wi-Fi Blocking Crackdown Could Spark Legal Challenge.” The first legal challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) enforcement actions against Wi-Fi blocking could stem from a proposed fine released Monday. The FCC has proposed a $718,000 fine against M.C. Dean Inc. for allegedly blocking personal mobile Wi-Fi hot spots at the Baltimore Convention Center, where the electrical contracting company is the exclusive Wi-Fi access provider. M.C. Dean's was the third enforcement action related to Wi-Fi blocking at hotels and convention centers in the past year — and the first that has not been resolved through settlement. The FCC instead issued a notice of apparent liability against M.C. Dean, which has vowed to fight the proposed fine. Mr. Guyan notes that, as the first Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), it is the first time the FCC has had to fully make its case that there is a violation. He goes on that say that, “There’s a definite split between the Democrats that have control over the issuance of the NAL, and the two Republican commissioners who are saying the commission doesn't have the authority to do this under the statutory provision. But, even if it turns out the commission has that authority, the adoption of rules after a notice and comment proceeding would provide clarity for companies considering engaging in these Wi-Fi management practices."
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