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Backed by Hilton, Marriott Continues its War Against Personal Wi-Fi Access

Backed by Hilton, Marriott Continues its War Against Personal Wi-Fi Access
Jennifer Billock

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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.

[Photo: iStock]

View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. starflyer

    January 5, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I’m sure then that Marriott will be offering free-to-all wi-fi in all meeting and confenrence spaces.

  2. InTokyo

    January 5, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Greedy greedy!

  3. abaheti

    January 6, 2015 at 7:19 am

    No doubt concerns about security also means customers should be forced to use Marriott land lines vs their own mobiles…

  4. largeeyes

    January 6, 2015 at 8:56 am

    How about more details rather than a blank filing form so we can fill in all the details?

  5. SkiAdcock

    January 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

    It’s all about $$, because if it was a security issue they wouldn’t allow the hotspots in rooms or lobby.

  6. roneyc

    January 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

    As chair of an upcoming convention, let me assure you that even if it is free to individuals attending conferences, the booking contract contains hefty charges for the wi-fi access within the conference rooms. Your conference fee is increased to cover those kinds of hotel charges.

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