Even after a $600,000 fine from the FCC, Marriott is continuing its fight against personal Wi-Fi access.
When it comes to conference rooms at hotels, Marriott vehemently opposes the use of personal Wi-Fi networks, meaning those tethered to guests’ personal devices. According to the company, the goal is to prevent cyber-attacks from imposter Wi-Fi hotspots.
Marriott filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back in August, requesting permission to block access from these devices at the company’s hotels. Although the petition is still pending, the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 in October for using jammers to block guests’ internet access in a Nashville conference room.
Marriott notes that it’s only hoping to block personal Wi-Fi access in meeting spaces and conference rooms; guests are free to use their own devices in their rooms and in the lobby.
“To set the record straight it has never been nor will it ever be Marriott’s policy to limit our guests’ ability to access the Internet by all available means,” Marriott said in a statement. “The question at hand is what measures a network operator can take to detect and contain rogue and imposter Wi-Fi hotspots used in our meeting and conference spaces that pose a security threat.”
Both Hilton Worldwide and the American Hospitality and Lodging Association back Marriott on the petition. Meanwhile, tech companies like Microsoft and Google oppose it, as do many customers who claim that Marriott is just looking for a way to get more money out of guests.
The FCC is welcoming public comment on Marriott’s petition here.