After receiving complaints and pushback from customers, Marriott International has retracted a decision to block guests’ personal Wi-Fi.
In a short statement released last week, Marriott International announced it would no longer block guests’ personal Wi-Fi networks and devices. This decision comes fresh on the heels of a $600,000 fine levied against the company by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for doing just that — blocking visitors from using their own Wi-Fi in conference rooms and meeting spaces.
Marriott’s statement asserted the following:
Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels. Marriott remains committed to protecting the security of Wi-Fi access in meeting and conference areas at our hotels. We will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of Wi-Fi devices.
The hotel company had been using Wi-Fi jammers to block guests’ access to their personal networks. According to Marriott International, the jammers only blocked such access in conference spaces and meeting rooms.
Guests were not pleased about the policy, and they complained that Marriott was only trying to gouge more money out of its customers. According to the FCC, Marriott was charging anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per device for access to conference room Wi-Fi at select properties.
Marriott’s defense was that it was only trying to prevent cyber-attacks, but the FCC ruled the disruption was unlawful.