The FCC Fines Marriott for Blocking Guest's WiFi Networks

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Tuesday, 07 October 2014

The FCC Fines Marriott for Blocking Guest's WiFi Networks

On October 3rd, the FCC announced that Marriott had been under investigation regarding complaints about their employees blocking customers’ personal WiFi networks. This applied to any customers who were trying to use mobile hotspots on their MiFis or cell phones, as well as WiFi routers using mobile broadband Internet. The investigation has since been resolved and the company has been fined a civil penalty of $600,000.

They discovered that Marriott employees were interfering with WiFi networks being used by customers, small businesses, and exhibitors who visited the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center (located in Nashville, TN). These employees apparently used some sort of WiFi monitoring system to block guest’s personal WiFi networks. They then proceeded to charge their customers between $250 to $1000 per device to access Marriott’s in house WiFi network.

It wasn’t just discovered this year however. The FCC received a complaint back in March of 2013 from someone who had attended a conference at the Gaylord Opryland. They reported that the hotel was “jamming mobile hotspots so that you can’t use them in the convention space.”

In accordance with the Consent Decree the FCC issued, Marriott must cease using any of this WiFi blocking technology and also re-evaluate how it monitors and uses WiFi at the convention center and hotel. In addition to the hefty fee they must pay, they have to report back to the FCC every 3 months for the next 3 years.

For more details, be sure to check out the full news report from the FCC.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 October 2014 )
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