Marriott is set to receive permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for blocking personal Wi-fi hotspots in their hotels. The hotel giant had earlier been fined by the commission for blocking Wi-Fi and charging customers.
The hotel had to pay about $600,000 to settle the investigation October. Marriott now plans to petition the commission by arguing that blocking hotspots is a way for cyber security and not a method for monopolization. The hotel responded to the media stating that only personal Wi-Fi hotspots in meeting and conference rooms will be blocked. The petition mentions blocking of personal Mi-Fi and Wi-Fi hotspots.
“To set the record straight it has never been, nor will it ever be Marriott’s policy to limit out guests’ ability to access Internet,” said the company in its blog.
Marriott claims that the move is aimed at protecting conference attendees from cyber-attacks and is not forcing users to use their own Wi-Fi network. Rogue hotspots and other viruses could lead to identity theft and other attacks, according to the hotel. The petition is most likely to be dismissed by the FCC as it would rather advise the hotel to improve its security systems. The petition does not mention the hotel’s plans to earn thousands of dollars by charging for poor Wi-Fi during conferences and meetings.
The charging of customers for Wi-Fi along with poor service is not likely to go down well with the FTC and FCC. Internet giants Google and Microsoft have expressed their disapproval towards Marriott’s petition with the commission. However, the FCC decision will be under close watch by other hotels and places as technology might be used t charge for Wi-Fi.
With the commission stating that forcing consumers to pay double the charge is straight violation of Communications Act during the impose of fine on the hotel giant, the petition will have a tough task of being accepted.[ Source ]