Some hotels and convention centers place illegal restrictions on the use of wireless Internet equipment to preserve the integrity of their own wireless networks, their monopoly positions, and their exorbitant pricing. A common business strategy in the industry involves taking advantage of consumers by exploiting the informational asymmetry that exists regarding telecommunications laws. Many venues assume that exhibitors with only a few trade shows per year will lack the motivation or the knowledge required to challenge their illegal WiFi restrictions and take advantage of cost-effective alternatives.
With the knowledge below, you’ll have an informed response to anyone who challenges your federally protected right as a leaseholder to operate a wireless (WiFi) network inside their venue.
The FCC reserved the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz unlicensed spectrum bands for wireless (WiFi) use by the public (also referred to as 802.11). Your venue and their in-house Internet service provider have no legal right to regulate, control, or prevent others from broadcasting on the 2.4 or 5.0 GHz wireless spectrum bands (or any other unlicensed wireless frequencies within their airspace). The wireless equipment your venue uses to operate the facility’s wireless (WiFi) network on the 2.4 or 5.0 GHz spectrums, like TSI’s equipment, is regulated by the FCC and bound by 47 CFR 15
rules. By law, all wireless equipment operating on this spectrum must accept interference from other wireless transmitters and satisfy power emission and radiation standards. The mere fact that your venue operates a WiFi network utilizing 2.4 and/or 5.0 GHz unlicensed wireless spectrum in no way creates any ownership rights to this public spectrum, nor any superordinate right to operate on the spectrum, nor does it confer authority from the FCC to the venue to mitigate radio frequency interference issues created by the use of competing wireless equipment.
Further, as an exhibitor or show organizer, you are a commercial leaseholder pursuant to state property laws. As a leaseholder, the FCC provides special legal protections under OTARD
rules which allow you to operate a wireless network within your leased space.
For more information on the relevant consumer protection laws please review our Consumer Bill of Rights.