Marriott International Inc. has decided to pay a $600,000 civil penalty after it blocked Wi-Fi hotspots at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. A federal complaint was raised against the hotel which is one of the largest convention centers in the United States.
Marriott, which owns a chain of luxury hotels worldwide agreed to settle the complaint on Friday with the $600,000 fine. The hotel had forced convention attendees to buy Wi-Fi from the hotel directly by blocking hotspots and were charged $250 to $1000 per device. An investigation was launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after the complaint in March and found that the hotel employees were blocking the Wi-Fi.
“It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel own Wi-Fi network,” said Travis LeBlanc, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief.
However, Marriott defended itself by saying that the blocking was an attempt to prevent identity theft, poor service, cyber attacks or rogue hotspots. Jeff Flaherty, the Marriott spokesperson stated that the actions of the Opryland Hotel were lawful and would continue to encourage the FCC to clear the ongoing confusion.
Along with the fine, the consent also mentions that Marriott should stop using Wi-Fi blocking devices and file reports with the FCC for every three months in the next three years. According to the FCC, it is illegal to use or sell Wi-Fi, cell phone and GPS jammers though the its is widely available in the market that are mostly imported from China.
[ Via ]