Marriott International was fined $600,000 by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for blocking personal Wi-Fi Hot Spots using internet blocking technology at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. While blocking access to the internet through personal hot spot devices, the convention center charged consumers and exhibitors from $250 to $1,000 for Wi-Fi access through the convention center’s Wi-Fi service.
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.
Under the terms of the Consent Decree the FCC announced today, Marriott must cease the unlawful use of Wi-Fi blocking technology and take significant steps to improve how it monitors and uses its Wi-Fi technology at the Gaylord Opryland. Marriott must institute a compliance plan and file compliance and usage reports with the Bureau every three months for three years, including information documenting any use of access point containment features at any U.S. property that Marriott manages or owns. To resolve this matter, Marriott will pay a civil penalty of $600,000.
FCC Statement – MARRIOTT TO PAY $600,000 TO RESOLVE WIFI-BLOCKING INVESTIGATION – October 3, 2014
Marriott fined $600,000 by FCC for blocking personal Wi-Fi networks
Erratic responsiveness of complimentary hotel Wi-Fi at hotels was the main reason I signed up for a personal hotspot modem account. $40 a month is a good investment if you consistently spend time working outside your home on a regular basis and need reliable internet access.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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