Marriott Hotels has confirmed its intention not to appeal against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to barring access to personal Wi-Fi networks within the company’s property’s. Having been slapped with a penalty of $600,000 for blocking a customer’s access to a non-Marriott Wi-Fi hot spot, the global hotel giant will not be petitioning the FCC to allow such practices to be carried out.
The fine was issued against Marriott in October last year after having been found to have prevented a Gaylord Opryland Resort guest from accessing a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, which was at the time justifies as a necessary security measure in the best interests of hotel guests. However, the backlash to the illegal Wi-Fi blocking was both widespread and heated, leading to influential brands like Microsoft and Google enter the argument on the side of the public.
Over the course of the weekend however, Bruce Hoffmeister confirmed that Marriott Hotels intends to “withdraw as a party to the petition seeking direction from the FCC on legal Wi-Fi security measures.”
“Our intent was to protect personal data in Wi-Fi hot spots for large conferences. We thought we were doing the right thing asking the FCC to provide guidance, but the FCC has indicated its position,” reaffirmed Marriott International’s Global Chief Information.
“Marriott will not block Wi-Fi signals at any hotel we manage for any reasons. And, as of January 15, we provide free Wi-Fi to all members of our Marriott Rewards program who book directly with us,”
“We’re doing everything we can to promote our customers’ connectivity using mobile and other devices, and we’re working with the industry to find security solutions that do not involve blocking our guests’ use of their Wi-Fi devices.”
The FCC made its stance on the situation abundantly clear, declaring the hotel’s prior practices a clear breach of the law.
“In the 21st century, Wi-Fi represents an important on ramp to the Internet,” read the FFCs declaration.
“Personal Wi-Fi networks, or “hot spots,” are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet. Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal.”