The FCC wants the Marriott hotel chain to pay up for its slimy practice of blocking and disabling conference guests’ personal Wi-Fi connections. Marriott is accused of jamming personal connections at its Gaylord Opryland location in Nashville, Tennessee.
In a statement, the FCC said its team had evidence that Marriott employees blocked personal access “while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses, and exhibitors as much as $US1000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network.”
Showing up at a hotel and having to pay extra for Wi-Fi sucks, which is why people sometimes use mobile routers or their phones as personal hotspots when they’re on vacation or attending a conference.
Marriott didn’t want to lose money once people figured out how to avoid paying for the hotel Wi-Fi access, hence the blocking. Too bad (for Marriott) that’s a fairly obvious violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act, which prohibits the use of jammers.
Considering how much money hotel chains bilk out of customers for using Wi-Fi, I seriously doubt Marriott is the only business that’s doing this. Hopefully this fine will help curb similar behaviour elsewhere and help make getting internet in a hotel room less of a pricey hassle. [Bloomberg]