National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) fines Internet user $ 3,000 BRL ($1,797 USD) for sharing Internet connection with three other low-income neighbors. NTA says the open Wi-Fi connection made him an ISP and he lacked the proper permits.
Brazil’s National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) apparently has too much free time on its hands. Rather than focus on the larger picture of telephone and ISP pricing, access, and competition issues it’s concerned that an individual from a low-income neighborhood is sharing his Wi-Fi connection with others.
ANATEL reportedly fined a man $3,000 BRL ($1,797 USD) for sharing Internet access with three neighbors. The three split the bill to save costs because otherwise they claim they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
“It happens that, somehow, the fact became known to the tax ANATEL, that in a ‘visit’ to the residence of the owner of the phone line, seized computer, modem and router installed there, tilling the assessment and applying a fine of R $ 3 thousand, under the accusation that it was providing services provider to access the Internet without proper authorization from the Agency,” writes 180 Degrees.
So would this make sharing a Wi-Fi connection among roommates illegal as well? According to ANATEL, the answer is “no.”
ANATEL Agency Manager Carlos Braga Bezerra says the law restricts wireless services to a single building or immovable property. Its permission is needed anytime sometime wishes to broadcast a signal beyond that since it then qualifies them as an ISP.
He also says that it’s important to prevent people from creating a Wi-Fi profiting scheme.
“Hardly a citizen will buy Internet service, for example, and share with their neighbors for free,” he says. “The collection of a monthly service is characterized by illegal exploitation. Also, if this neighbor who provides the service decides to shut down the the internet, or if there is a problem on the line, who those others who use the service would appeal?”
Either way it has to be pretty frustrating for Brazilian consumers knowing that ANATEL is likely wasting resources to target a guy splitting his Internet bill with three neighbors.