Marriott fined $600K for jamming guests’ Wi-Fi

NEW YORK — Marriott International will pay the government a $600,000 fine for jamming conference attendees’ own Wi-Fi networks at one of its hotels, forcing them instead to pay as much as $1,000 each to use the hotel’s own connection.

Frequent travelers often carry personal Wi-Fi hotspots — tiny devices that can connect to the Internet via cell phone towers. For $50 a month, they can connect to the Internet on the move, often avoiding hefty fees charged by hotels, airports and conference facilities. Last year, a conference attendee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee — which is managed by Marriott — found that the hotel was jamming their device in its ballrooms and complained to the Federal Communications Commission. In the complaint, the guest noted that it had happed previously at another Gaylord property.

The FCC said Marriott charged conference exhibitors $250 to $1,000, per device, to use the Gaylord’s Wi-Fi connection. The FCC declined to release the initial guest complaint except if requested under the Freedom of Information Act, a process that can often take weeks.

While agreeing to the fine, Marriott on Friday defended the practice of jamming guests’ own Wi-Fi networks. The company said this wasn’t aimed at charging guests extra for Internet access but about protecting its network. It said the hotel’s actions were legal and encouraged the FCC to change its rules “to eliminate the ongoing confusion” and “to assess the merits of its underlying policy.”

“Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft,” the company said in a statement, adding that hospitals and universities employee similar jamming practices.

Marriott operates or franchise more than 4,000 hotels around the world. A spokesman for the company wouldn’t say how many other hotels employ block personal Wi-Fi connections.

The government said people who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal connection will be blocked.

“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,” Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s enforcement bureau said in a statement. “This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”

——

Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like