OfReg issues notice to Wifi providers

At least nine companies are illegally charging people for access to the internet via Wifi hot spots, according to the Utility Regulation and Competition Office.

The regulatory body, known as OfReg, issued a notice last week informing local companies of the existing law in an effort to bring violators into compliance without prosecution.

The notice was a reiteration of long-standing Information and Communications Technology law that states that companies are not allowed to solicit fees for Wifi hot spot access without being licensed by the government.

Sonji Myles, deputy director of ICT at OfReg, said there are no companies currently licensed as public Wifi hot spot providers, and there are as many as nine companies acting in violation of the law.

Mr. Myles said OfReg is not looking to prosecute violators and may ultimately seek amendments to the law. But for now, the aim of the notice is to make sure that business owners are aware of the specific regulations regarding internet access and to bring everybody into compliance with the law.

“Actors are requested to cease activity immediately and seek licensing from the Office,” Mr. Myles said Monday night in an email response to a request for comment. “I should also note that as one of our major concerns, we have been able to confirm that at least one of the actors solicits credit card payment via a portal which is processed in a country suspected/alleged to have a propensity in the cybersecurity world for identity theft and other fraud as well as being a base for cybersecurity threat origin.”

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