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Marriott/Hotel Industry FCC Petition to Block Personal Hot Spots

Marriott/Hotel Industry FCC Petition to Block Personal Hot Spots

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Old Jan 3, 15, 10:46 am
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Marriott/Hotel Industry FCC Petition to Block Personal Hot Spots

Many know about Marriott being fined by the FCC for blocking personal hotspots at one of their properties. There is a long thread about it in the Marriott forum http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...hville-tn.html

I just read about their filing of a petition to do so legally:

http://boingboing.net/2014/12/31/mar...-to-block.html

One of take aways is that in addition to Marriott, Hilton is a co-filer, as is
the American hotel industry's trade group. Folks need to chime in and oppose this request. The Boing Boing article is pretty good.

I have quit staying at Marriott's because their various double speak and other policies. Folks might want to think about their hotel stays.

For those who do not understand the issue - instead of using the hotel wireless cause it sucks one sets up their own person hot spot via their cell phone. However, that signal gets "blocked". To get around this one would need to tether their phone to their laptop and used a wired connection.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingUnderTheRadar View Post
Many know about Marriott being fined by the FCC for blocking personal hotspots at one of their properties. There is a long thread about it in the Marriott forum http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marri...hville-tn.html

I just read about their filing of a petition to do so legally:

http://boingboing.net/2014/12/31/mar...-to-block.html

One of take aways is that in addition to Marriott, Hilton is a co-filer, as is
the American hotel industry's trade group. Folks need to chime in and oppose this request. The Boing Boing article is pretty good.

I have quit staying at Marriott's because their various double speak and other policies. Folks might want to think about their hotel stays.

For those who do not understand the issue - instead of using the hotel wireless cause it sucks one sets up their own person hot spot via their cell phone. However, that signal gets "blocked". To get around this one would need to tether their phone to their laptop and used a wired connection.
To clarify, they don't block the phone signal so you can get to the internet on your phone. But they block the wifi signal from your phone allowing you (and others) to use it as a hotspot avoiding paying for the hotel's wifi.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:19 pm
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Also worth noting that, at least right now, the only time Marriott has actually been performing such blocking is in the meeting spaces, not in the guest rooms.

I think it is bad precedence and works against the basic underlying technology the 802.11 wifi standards are founded on, but the impact on most hotel guests is pretty low to nil right now.

n.b. The link above is to my blog or to one which I am a regular contributor. FT rules require that I disclose that in the post.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:31 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
... but the impact on most hotel guests is pretty low to nil right now.
Of course the bolded text is the thing to not discount.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 12:56 pm
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How many threads do we need on the same topic?
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Old Jan 3, 15, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
To clarify, they don't block the phone signal so you can get to the internet on your phone. But they block the wifi signal from your phone allowing you (and others) to use it as a hotspot avoiding paying for the hotel's wifi.
Yes, that is a good point. The blocking does not affect cellular transmission only wifi from a hot spot. It would also block wifi from a laptop that is set to share wifi.

Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
How many threads do we need on the same topic?
I looked and there is only the thread about Marriott being fined. That one is in the Marriott forum. To my knowledge there not a general thread about the industry wanting to this practice legally. Further, I put it in the travel buzz forum because it has the potential to affect all hotels within the USA. If have missed the search then please post up where else this topic exists and I with have the mods merge them.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 9:30 pm
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If the FCC refuses to let state prison authorities jam wireless signals, the odds that they will let hotels do it are practically zero.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
If the FCC refuses to let state prison authorities jam wireless signals, the odds that they will let hotels do it are practically zero.
The hotels aren't blocking wireless. They're blocking wifi. Not the same thing.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
The hotels aren't blocking wireless. They're blocking wifi. Not the same thing.
Legally, they are the same thing. The law says that it is illegal to interfere with "radio communications", which means any communications that take place over public airwaves. The contents of the communication is irrelevant.
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Old Jan 3, 15, 11:12 pm
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What a great way to keep your customers happy. I am sure they will do this under the guise of 'guest security' or some other equally lame excuse.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by mikekelley View Post
What a great way to keep your customers happy. I am sure they will do this under the guise of 'guest security' or some other equally lame excuse.
No, the extra wifi is energy released into the earth's atmosphere, so by blocking it (in addition to not changing towels and sheets), they are fighting global warming.
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Old Jan 4, 15, 1:39 am
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Pure BS.

Last edited by Doc Savage; Jan 4, 15 at 1:50 am
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Old Jan 4, 15, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by cbn42 View Post
Legally, they are the same thing. The law says that it is illegal to interfere with "radio communications", which means any communications that take place over public airwaves. The contents of the communication is irrelevant.
There is one difference that while I am no expert in is that cellular signals are regulated by the FCC whereas wireless signals are not. I believe this is one of the points that the hotel industry is trying to utilize in their request.

Originally Posted by mikekelley View Post
What a great way to keep your customers happy. I am sure they will do this under the guise of 'guest security' or some other equally lame excuse.
Close: "necessary to ensure customer security and to protect children."
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Old Jan 15, 15, 2:23 pm
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Seems Marriott got the message:

http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/15/tech...ifi/index.html
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Old Jan 28, 15, 8:39 am
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FCC Warns Hotels Not to Block Wi-Fi Hotspots

This news from the FCC follows a $600,000 fine against Marriott in October for blocking guests' hotspots in meeting rooms. I've never personally run into this but I suspect the issue has been more widespread than just the one hotel in Nashville which caused the FCC to fine Marriott last year.

FCC Warns Hotels Not to Block Wi-Fi Hotspots
The Federal Communications Commission cautioned hotels and other commercial establishments on Tuesday about blocking signals from Wi-Fi hotspots being used by guests and others visiting a property.

The agency issued a public enforcement advisory, in which it warned that “Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal,” noting that “networks, or ‘hot spots,’ are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet.” Protecting consumers from this kind of interference is a “priority area,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement....

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Above coverage appeared in FBT, where I serve as ed. dir.
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