Hilton, M.C. Dean in Trouble for Wi-Fi Blocking

Carl Weinschenk

Multiple accusations have been made against hotels and lodges for blocking guests’ access to Wi-Fi signals as a means of forcing them to pay for in-house service. The Federal Communications Commission this week proposed fines against two companies in connection with this practice.

The FCC wants Hilton Worldwide Holdings to pay $25,000 for obstructing a probe into the charges against it. The story at Ars Technica paints a picture of a company that simply didn’t cooperate with an investigation:

After nearly one year, Hilton has failed to provide the requested information for the vast majority of its properties. Hilton operates several brands, including Hilton, Conrad, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, and Waldorf Astoria properties," the FCC said. Hilton's response "contained corporate policy documents pertaining only generally to wireless management practices (which did not discuss Wi-Fi blocking) and provided Wi-Fi management records pertaining only to the single Hilton-brand property named in the complaint," the FCC said in a Notice of Apparent Liability.

The FCC also proposed a $718,000 fine against M.C. Dean for blocking Wi-Fi connections “on dozens of occasions” at the Baltimore Convention Center. The story says that the company has exclusive rights to Wi-Fi at the convention center and was charging exhibitors and visitors as much as $1,095 per event for access.


Telemedicine: Good Growth Will Continue

Telemedicine is the perfect fit for the explosion of telecommunications tools, techniques and platforms. Indeed, it was a growing sector before the exponential growth even started.

That growth will continue. Grand View Research found that the category will move from $572 million last year to $2.8 billion in 2022. The reasons will be varied, according to the report on the study at Healthcare Informatics:

According to the report, key drivers of the market include a rising demand for centralization of healthcare administration, and enhanced quality and safety by the applications. Furthermore, enhancing demand of mobile technologies and internet by people, along with rising adoption for home care by patients or reduction in hospital visits, are expected to propel the growth over the forecast period, the researchers concluded.

The report said that software will experience the fastest growth, moving from 18.9 percent of the market to 20.2 percent at the end of the study’s term. Hardware monitors, another area of growth, will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.3 percent.

Students: Five Hours Per Day on Their Phones


A study from Lancaster University provides insight into the issue of why the demand for cellular and wireless capacity is so great. Researchers at the English university asked an admittedly small sample group – 29 participants – between the ages of 18 and 33 years old to allow a tracking app on their Android-based phones.

The participants were from the University of Lincoln, which is also in the UK. Daily usage suggests that the students really like to use their phones:

The median number of times study participants looked at their smartphones for at least 10 seconds was 84. More than half of those engagements lasted less than 30 seconds, and total median usage was 5.05 hours per day.

The small size of the sample means that the study is more or less anecdotal, but it seems likely to have at least some level of validity.

FCC Seeks Agreement on Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission wants the world to work toward consistent reallocation of radio spectrum to support 5G, civilian drones, and a worldwide flight tracking system, according to a report in Reuters.

Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested at a news conference at the World Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva that other countries follow the example that will be set by the U.S., which will start auctioning VHF spectrum at the end of March, 2016. The idea is that a consistent approach to radio spectrum will reduce costs for companies and organizations that operate in multiple countries.

Think Through Issues Around Cloud as Data Backup

Udistra Dandaraj, the Availability and Hosting Specialist at ContinuitySA, suggests that companies should not use public cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Employees often upload data to these services. The problem is that they don’t offer insight into how data is stored or provide the type of service level agreements (SLAs) that organizations need to control data treatment and delivery.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the cloud concept itself isn’t a great fit for treatment of data in the context of disaster recovery/business continuity. Dandaraj offers insight into the various options and suggests that the private cloud, which offers what is missing in the public cloud, is the best approach.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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