Yes, Mi-Fi, Hotspots, Tethering, and personal wifi networks are allowed in conference centers, in hotels, and other venues. Well, actually what the FCC says is that hotels and venues cannot jam or tamper with or interfere with wifi transmissions, hence if an organizer sets up a personal hotspot in a hotel to make internet connections within the event cheaper for instance, well the venue can’t block the wifi.
FCC fines a hotel for interfering with wifi transmissions
In 2014, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has fined a hotel chain $600,000 for having jammed mobile hotspots following the complaint of an event participant. The context as described by the FCC is that in March 2013, the FCC received a complaint from an individual who had attended an event at the Gaylord Opryland, a hotel. The complainant alleged that the Gaylord Opryland was “jamming mobile hotspots so that you can’t use them in the convention space”. The hotel chain admitted that one or more of its employees used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system to prevent consumers
from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks.
The decision’s background refers to section 333 of the Communications Act: “No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government.” The decision goes on to note that the FCC’s position is clear and has always been “the use of jammers to interfere with Wi-Fi transmissions violates Section 333”.
=> to learn more, access the FCC decision: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-14-1444A1.pdf
And now FCC repeats: “WARNING: Wi-Fi Blocking is Prohibited”
The FCC insists as it warns: “Persons or Businesses Causing Intentional Interference to Wi-Fi Hot Spots Are Subject to Enforcement Action”
And then the FCC writes a concise paragraph to remind us the values that underly their decision and the need to enforce those values: “In the 21st Century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet. Personal Wi-Fi networks, or “hot spots,” are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet. Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal. Wi-Fi blocking violates Section 333 of the Communications Act, as amended.1 The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.”
=> to read more: http://www.fcc.gov/document/warning-wi-fi-blocking-prohibited