Pay $200 For Our Wi-Fi Or Get Out: Debate Organizers Tell Journalists

Hofstra University’s enforcement of the no-dongle policy could be illegal according to Federal Communications Commission advisory.



It was a difficult night for Donald Trump as he miserably failed to stand his ground during the first presidential debate with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

But it wasn’t just the Republican presidential nominee who struggled throughout the debate.

Journalists present at Hofstra University in Long Island to cover the debate were given a choice: use the organizer’ $200 Wi-Fi to get online or leave, according to ArsTechnica.

Now, organizers profiteering off such high-profile occasions isn’t something unheard of. It happens all the time. However, several reporters said Hofstra went one step further and warned journalists over a loudspeaker to not use dongles. In fact, the university sent out people carrying handheld devices to search in the press area to look for personal hotspots.


Hofstra, apparently, has always been a little aggressive in terms of cashing on the debates. Last time around, at its 2012 event, they demanded, though comparatively less from this year, $175.

But their ban on personal devices this time around is something that’s prompting criticism – and it could also be illegal.

As per a 2015 advisory published by the Federal Communications Commission "willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hotspots is illegal."

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Brian Snyder

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