Senior Communications Manager
Bennett Ross Discusses Legal Challenge to FCC’s Wi-Fi Blocking Enforcement Action
Bennett Ross, chair of the Telephony & Information Technology practice, was quoted extensively in a Law360 article, discussing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed $718,000 fine against M.C. Dean Inc. for allegedly blocking personal mobile Wi-Fi hot spots at the Baltimore Convention Center.
“[M.C. Dean] has no interest in paying $700,000 and believes that it’s right, and believes its rights will be vindicated by the FCC, and if not the FCC, than the court,” said Mr. Ross, who is representing the electrical contracting company. “M.C. Dean will argue that on the plain face of the statute, it was never intended to deal with Wi-Fi devices and other Part 15 devices…by definition, Part 15 devices accept interference,” he said. According to Mr. Ross, the statute cannot reasonably be construed in the manner urged by the Commission.
Furthermore, Mr. Ross pointed out the lack of due process by virtue of the failure of the Commission to put the industry on notice of the specific conduct that purports to violate the law. “Companies have to guess as to whether or not they can use the equipment and under what circumstances, and if they guess wrong, they’re subject to an enforcement action,” Mr. Ross said. “[The] industry also wants guidance from the FCC on what's allowed and when,” he added.
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