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Marriott to Stop Blocking Guest Wi-Fi Devices

January 15, 2015

laptopMarriott International has released a statement promising not to block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi at the company's managed hotels.

"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," the company said. "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."

Back in October Marriott had been fined $600,000 by the FCC for jamming the personal Wi-Fi networks of conference attendees at one of its hotels. The jamming forced the travelers to pay as much as $1,000 each to use the hotel's connection. 

The fine came as the result of a complaint by a conference attendee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, which is managed by Marriott, to the FCC. The attendee complained that his Wi-Fi hotspot, which connects to the Internet via a cell phone network and then broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal, had been jammed by the hotel. 

Marriott had argued that the jamming was necessary to protect the integrity of its own Wi-Fi networks. The company, as well as its business partner Ryman Hospitality Properties and the American Hotel and Lodging Association trade group had asked the FCC to clarify when hotels can block hotspots. 

The petition asked the FCC to "declare that the operator of a Wi-Fi network does not violate [U.S. law] by using FCC-authorized equipment to monitor and mitigate threats to the security and reliability of its network."

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