Photo courtesy Marriott International Twitter account
Marriott International released a statement last week clarifying its well-publicized desire to block personal Wi-Fi devices in its hotels.
In the statement, Marriott stresses that it will not block personal Wi-Fi hotspots in its hotel rooms or lobby spaces, but it does seek to block personal Wi-Fi devices in meeting and event spaces.
Marriott was fined $600,000 by the Federal Communications Commission after Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center used technology to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots at its convention space in 2013, charging attendees anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for Wi-Fi service in the process.
The major hotel company requested permission from the FCC in August 2014 to block personal Wi-Fi devices. In the recent statement, Marriott notes it is being pursued because of security concerns.
The statement reads:
"We understand there have been concerns regarding our position on the FCC petition filing, perhaps due to a lack of clarity about the issue. To set the record straight it has never been nor will it ever be Marriott's policy to limit our guests' ability to access the Internet by all available means, including through the use of personal Mi-Fi and/or Wi-Fi devices. As a matter of fact, we invite and encourage our guests to use these Internet connectivity devices in our hotels. To be clear, this matter does not involve in any way Wi-Fi access in hotel guestrooms or lobby spaces.
"The question at hand is what measures a network operator can take to detect and contain rogue and imposter Wi-Fi hotspots used in our meeting and conference spaces that pose a security threat to meeting or conference attendees or cause interference to the conference guest wireless network.
"In light of the increased use of wireless technology to launch cyber-attacks and purposefully disrupt hotel networks, Marriott along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on behalf of the entire hotel industry is seeking clarity from the FCC regarding what lawful measures a network operator can take to prevent such attacks from occurring. We feel this is extremely important as we are increasingly being asked what measures we take to protect our conference and meeting guests and the conference groups that are using Wi-Fi technology in our hotels.
Don't expect the clarification to appease everybody, though.
Since the FCC began accepting comments on Nov. 19 about Marriott's petition filing, there have been dozens of comments, with every comment opposing the move. Many of those opposed believe Marriott's filing is less about security concerns and more about the financial benefits Marriott would reap for forcing meeting and event attendees to pay for its Wi-Fi.
There have also been comments denouncing the quality of Marriott's Wi-Fi. Some said they prefer to use their own Wi-Fi inside Marriott hotels because it's faster.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association and Hilton Worldwide have supported Marriott's petition filing, while major companies such as Google and Microsoft are against it.
One thing's for sure: Given travelers' increasing desire for fast and free Wi-Fi, this story is receiving its fair share of attention.
Topics From This Article to Explore