Marriott stops blocking guest wifi hotspots

15 Jan 2015 by GrahamSmith

Marriott International has reversed its decision to block guests from using personal wifi hotspots.

The turnaround comes three months after the company was fined $600,000 by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after a customer complained that it was jamming mobile hotspots at its Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center hotel in Nashville.

Marriott said it had only blocked devices in its meeting rooms and did so to protect guests' online security, a defence dismissed by technology experts.

Following widespread criticism, the hotel has now announced it will cease blocking mobile devices.

The hotel group said in a statement: "Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal wifi devices at any of our managed hotels."

An FCC investigation found Marriott was monitoring guest-created wifi hotspots and deactivating them, while charging conference attendees between $250 and $1,000 per device for online access.

Marriott said the practice only took place in meeting rooms and not in guest bedrooms.

In its statement, the firm added: "We will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of wifi devices."

Graham Smith

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