Contrary to Marriott’s previous stance on “jamming” guest-created hotspots and charging consumers and small business exorbitant fees to use the hotel’s own wireless network, the hotel chain recently announced it would not block guests from using personal hotspots at any of their managed hotels.
After charging customers at conferences upwards of $250-$1000 to access WiFi at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Nashville Convention Center, the FCC fined the hotel giant $600,000, finding the practice in violation of one of its own advisories that forbids blocking, jamming, or interfering with authorized radio communications, including WiFi.
In some cases Marriott was disconnecting customers’ devices, giving them no other option but to use the hotel’s wireless network. In late December the company clarified its position, stating their only intent was to block personal hotspots in convention spaces, not guest rooms.
Regardless of Marriott’s intentions, they were under mounting pressure to back off the plan, as consumers complained the hotel giant was simply trying to charge guests under the guise of being concerned about various security issues, such as rogue networks and fraud.
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