You gotta fight for your right to Wi-Fi
Here's good news for Wi-Fi users in airports, rented apartments, and elsewhere: The FCC has ruled (PDF download) that landlords can't block renters from installing Wi-Fi networks on their leased property. The specific decision helps Continental Airlines in its Wi-Fi dispute with Massport, the operator of Boston's Logan Airport, but it has more far-reaching effects, says Susan Crawford, an assistant professor at Cardozo Law School, who wrote up the FCC's ruling on her blog:

This is a significant decision. It means that landlords (even if they're government instrumentalities) can't stop people from operating community Wi-Fi antennas on their leased premises. It means that mesh networks can't be outlawed by landlords on one pretense or another -- as long as the antenna is being used to send and receive signals within the leaseholder's own property, it's covered.

You'd think that landlords would welcome tenants providing a free amenity that other renters can use -- but it turns out that in many cases, landlords hoping to sell Wi-Fi or wired Internet connections in their buildings don't like the competition. One San Francisco landlord in particular went ballistic last month over Google's plans to provide free Wi-Fi to city residents. Now, the FCC has ruled that Massport and other landlords trying to resist Wi-Fi installations were fighting the law -- and the law, and Wi-Fi users, won.
Posted by Owen Thomas 12:03 PM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.