Marriott to no longer lobby for clearance to block WiFi

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Hotel meeting room
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Marriott International said Wednesday that it will no longer seek permission to block other WiFi networks within its meetings and convention spaces.

The hotel company had faced criticism in its attempt to get regulatory clearance to block WiFi networks in meetings areas for the purpose of protecting guests’ Internet security. Marriott said it will talk to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about allowable ways to maintain cybersecurity without WiFi blocking.

Marriott said it already did not block independent WiFi in guestrooms and lobbies.

In August, Marriott, along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), filed a petition with the FCC asking regulators to allow WiFi blocking in meeting areas. The petition drew criticism from tech giants Google and Microsoft and faced allegations that the hotel company was trying to protect the revenue stream generated by the provision of on-site WiFi. Marriott had countered that blocking WiFi was about cybersecurity, not revenue.

Marriott was fined $600,000 by the FCC in October after a probe revealed that a conference attendee at the Marriott-managed Gaylord Opryland in Nashville had his personal WiFi network blocked.

The FCC said that Marriott was in violation of Section 333 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, which states, “No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government.”
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Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

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