Home Marriott Ends Its Bid To Kill Your Wi-Fi Hotspot

Marriott Ends Its Bid To Kill Your Wi-Fi Hotspot

Breathe easy, travelers. Marriott no longer has a hit out on your personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

After getting caught dampening external Wi-Fi connections last year, and taking heat by the FCC for essentially forcing people to pay for the hotel’s expensive wireless Internet service, the chain vowed to pursue the matter with appeals. Now, the company announced Monday that it has finally thrown in the towel for good. 

See also: How This Hotel Made Sure Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Sucked

Marriott initially explained the signal interference, first discovered at its Gaylord Opryland location in Nashville, as a security measure designed to protect guests and its own system from rogue networks. However, that didn’t stop the Federal Communications Commission from penalizing the corporation $600,000

Marriott agreed not to hamper MiFis or other networks in hotel rooms, but persisted in arguing for the right to dampen external networks in its business and convention center—where the hotel coincidentally charges as much as a thousand dollars for its own connection.

Marriott Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, TN

Marriott’s intentions have been clear, even before the kerfuffle in Nashville. Last August, the company joined the American Hotel & Lodging Association in filing a petition with the FCC, asking for permission to stamp out other people’s hotspots. 

See also: Marriott Wants To Jam Your Wi-Fi For Your Own Good

It was an uphill battle from the start. The FCC does not take kindly to companies messing with the public’s Wi-Fi connectivity. Citing the Communications Act, the commission stands by the premise that all Wi-Fi gadgets should have unfettered access to unlicensed wireless spectrum—and if there was any confusion over this position, the FCC made it plain last month when it called out the illegality of Marriott’s tactics:

The Communications Act prohibits anyone from willfully or maliciously interfering with authorized radio communications, including Wi-Fi. Marriott’s request seeking the FCC’s blessing to block guests’ use of non-Marriott networks is contrary to this basic principle…. The Enforcement Bureau recently imposed a $600,000 fine on Marriott for this kind of conduct, and the FCC will continue to enforce the Communications Act if others act similarly.

It didn’t mince words the first time, but the FCC felt the need to reiterate the sentiment again last week.

The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.

No wonder Marriott gave up. Apparently its vague security concerns just weren’t disconcerting enough to make this battle worthwhile. 

Lead photo by Masakazu Matsumoto; Gaylord Opryland photo courtesy of Marriott

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