Thursday, November 02, 2006

FCC rules that landlords cannot force tenants to buy their WiFi or block competitors

Travelers through Boston's Logan airport have been vexed to find that Wireless access was only available for a fee of $8/day. REeeaally annoying! It turns out that Massport, the quasi-governmental, independent agency link, which owns Logan, was bullying any vendors or airlines who tried to offer free or cheaper wi-fi. They wanted to maintain a lock on that market. Finally, Continental Airlines (yay! buy tickets from them! Visit their little press release on the matter link) stood up to Massport and challenged the rule at the FCC. I can't celebrate too much yet, since the Continental arrangement was to provide free Wi-fi to passengers and staff in their President's Lounge. Read the Boston Globe article on the matter, link in the title above. For links to the FCC Order and Statements, see below in the "Read More" section.

Still, the ruling is important because if allowed to stand, Logan's restrictions would act as a precedent allowing landlords to force tenants to buy Wifi access from them and to block competition.

Full text of order and two statements for In the Matter of Continental Airlines, Petition for Declaratory Ruling Regarding the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (OTARD)
at the FCC website: link. It's in Headlines for 11/1/06, but later accessible as docket number ET Docket No. 05-247. The order has lengthy citations to relevant CFR and statutory sections, if you need the underlying law.

The Wireless logo above actually is used by the London School of Economics -- it just says it so nicely, see

No comments: