Sunday, October 5, 2014

The FCC Fines Marriott for Disabling Guests' Private Wi-Fi Networks

Marriott Gaylord Opryland Resort
& Convention Center
Marriott hotels tend to get in trouble with its traffic management practices. Back in 2012, they used their Wi-Fi service to insert ads into guests sessions (see "Marriott Uses DPI to Insert Ads to its Guests" - here and "Marriott (on DPI Ad Insertion): ".. we didn't know .. everybody does it.. it is disabled now"" - here).

Now, according to the FCC, they jammed the use of personal hot-spots so customers will have to use Marriott's (expensive) service instead. This time they will pay.

The FCC announced that "Marriott International, Inc. and its subsidiary, Marriott Hotel Services, Inc., will pay $600,000 to resolve a Federal Communications Commission investigation into whether Marriott intentionally interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi networks established by consumers in the conference facilities of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act.

The FCC Enforcement Bureau’s investigation revealed that Marriott employees had used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland to prevent individuals from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks, while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses, and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network".

"Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal Internet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether,” he added".

See "Marriott to Pay $600K to Resolve WiFi-Blocking Investigation" - here.

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