- There may have been something “bigger” going on during Monday’s Presidential Debate than just politics.
- The FCC is investigating Hofstra University for the restriction of their wifi to the journalists present at the event.
- The last case like this ended in a $750,000 fine.
It seems that more was going on during Monday’s debate than we thought. Apparently, the host of the night, Hofstra University, demanded that journalists pay $200 to use their wifi and told them to turn off their own personal hotspots or be removed from the debate. Kenneth Vogel, of Politico, actually captured a picture of devices that were scanning those in attendance to make sure their hotspots were turned off.
That seems like an awful lot of trouble just for Wifi right? That’s what Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) thought. So, she is now requesting that the agency investigates the peculiar reasons behind the strange wifi restrictions.
It took awhile for Hofstra University to comment on Jessica Rosenworcel’s accusation, but eventually a statement was released by the spokesman for Hofstra University.
The Commission on Presidential Debates sets the criteria for services and requires that a completely separate network from the University’s network be built to support the media and journalists. This is necessary due to the volume of Wi-Fi activity and the need to avoid interference. The Rate Card fee of $200 for Wi-Fi access is to help defray the costs and the charge for the service does not cover the cost of the buildout.
For Wi-Fi to perform optimally the system must be tuned with each access point and antenna. When other Wi-Fi access points are placed within the environment the result is poorer service for all. To avoid unauthorized access points that could interfere, anyone who has a device that emits RF frequency must register the device. Whenever a RF-emitting device was located, the technician notified the individual to visit the RF desk located in the Hall. The CPD RF engineer would determine if the device could broadcast without interference.