In Section 333 of the Communications Act, it states that “No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference” with any licensed or authorized radio communications. But a company that provides Internet service for hotels and convention centers around the country has admitted to deliberately preventing people from using their own, legal hotspots to go online. [More]
While major wireless carriers are investing billions of dollars in LTE services, a Los Angeles-based tech company is aiming to capture some of their customers by offering unlimited access to millions of WiFi hotspots across the U.S. for as little as $5 a month. While that might seem like a deal you just can’t pass up, the new service likely isn’t an attainable alternative just yet. [More]
Marriott got a big fat fine from the FCC last year for illegally blocking customers’ personal wifi hotspots. The chain paid the fine, but doesn’t want another one. Their solution? Ask the FCC to make what they did legal going forward. But after widespread backlash from tech companies, customers, and basically everyone on the internet, Marriott is now backing away from the plan.
Last fall, Marriott got in trouble for jamming the signals from users’ portable hotspots in one of their conference centers. That’s illegal, and the FCC fined them big bucks for it. Now the hotel chain is trying to make it legal, which has gone over very poorly in the public eye. But wait, Marriott says — we don’t want to stop you from using personal hotspots in your room! We only want to block you from using them in shared spaces where you could actually benefit from having them.
Hotel wifi really sucks sometimes: it can be expensive, insecure, and slow all at once. When there’s a convention in town, the network’s so overloaded you can’t connect at all. So travelers bring their own mobile hotspots. It’s a win for the consumer, but not for the hotel that suddenly loses the ability to charge you more fees. And that’s the core issue behind a regulatory fight that has hotels and tech firms arguing over what consumers are allowed to do.
Of course Comcast customers can connect to Comcast wifi at home. That’s the point. But Comcast wants Comcast customers to be able to connect to Comcast wifi no matter where they are. To that end, they’re building a massive nationwide network of hotspots for their Xfinity customers… by using their other Xfinity customers as a source. The service has been controversial since Comcast first announced it, and now that controversy has turned into legal trouble.
For years, a number of the larger cable-based Internet providers have placed WiFi hotspots around the country for their customers to use when not in the comfort of their own home, but you had to find a hotspot operated by your ISP. Today, five of those companies — Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, and Cox Communications — have announced that their customers will all soon be able to all use the same hotspots. But will people use them — and will this actually make some of the problems worse?
It takes some doing to turn heads amid the media circus that is South by Southwest, but marketing firm BBH just that by transforming homeless guys into walking 4G WiFi hotspots. Promoters say the stunt is meant to bring the plight of the homeless to light, but there are also questions about whether or not the contractors are being exploited.
While Sprint continues — for now — to offer smartphone users unlimited data plans without overage charges or throttling, the company has announced that customers with unlimited 4G plans for mobile broadband and mobile hotspot devices will have very definite limits starting in November.
Someone named Jennifer called in to the Leo Laporte show a week ago and asked for help on how to get back online. She’d been able to access a Wi-Fi hotspot for over a year and a half from her apartment, but “that’s disappeared now for three weeks.” She bought a wireless extender and that didn’t solve the problem at all. Laporte gently tries to point out that she’s being a freeloader, but she’s not buying it.
We talk a lot on this blog about personal data and privacy, but not so much about how to secure that data on your own computer. That’s because a.) we’re not Lifehacker and b.) the solutions frequently bloat into crazy, jargon-filled recipes that scare away the non-IT crowd. Not this time! For all you novices, here is a single idea you should consider that will help keep your personal data personal, and make your identity that much harder to steal.
T-mobile’s hotspot this morning in the Charlotte airport didn’t let us on the internet, but were still charged $9.99. Visions of David Berlind’s similar battle dancing in our eyes, we called up T-Mobile, demanded a refund, and got it. Word.
On Wednesday, ZDnet blogger David Berlind posted a call of his attempts to extract a refund from T-Mobile hotspot but it’s not until today that he found complete satisfaction.
Much like beer and hotdogs at the ballpark, airports take advantage of your momentary entrapment to bend you over for the privilege of wi-fi surfing. Against his better judgment, ZDnet’s David Berlind tried to use the airport’s T-Mobile hotspot and access some important and time-sensitive documents from his office. T-Mobile was more than happy to give him a high signal as he completed the transaction, only for the wifi to completely cut out after they charged his credit card. David recorded his call trying to wrest his dollars back from T-Mobile, listen below.