FCC official: “Something’s not right” with Wi-Fi at Monday’s debate

From ArsTechnica:

One of the members of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, has asked the agency to investigate the Monday evening ban on journalists’ Wi-Fi personal hotspots at the presidential debate held at Hofstra University.

As Ars reported on Monday evening, the host venue demanded that journalists pay $200 to access the event’s Wi-Fi and were told to shut down their own hotspots or leave the debate. At least one photo, taken by Kenneth Vogel of Politico, showed a handheld device that was being used to scan for and locate “rogue” Wi-Fi networks.

My office has asked the @FCC Enforcement Bureau to investigate, figure out what happened. cc: @cfarivar

— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) September 27, 2016

To be clear, there’s no evidence that Hofstra, or anyone working on Hofstra’s behalf, was actively blocking radio frequencies, as has been the case in other related circumstances that have drawn the ire of the FCC.

Earlier, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted, saying that something was “not right” with what Hofstra did. She cited an August 2015 order from the FCC, forcing a company called Smart City to no longer engage in Wi-Fi blocking and to pay $750,000.

Something not right with the #WiFi situation at @HofstraU last night. Here’s what #FCC precedent says: https://t.co/r9fWFnfJLm

— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) September 27, 2016

Hofstra University has not responded to Ars’ request for comment.

UPDATE 4:26pm ET: Karla Schuster, a spokeswoman for Hofstra University, wrote to Ars with this statement:

The Commission on Presidential Debates sets the criteria for services and requires that a completely …

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