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Hotels ask the FCC if they can control all customer Wi-Fi activity
Several months ago, the FCC fined Marriott International for intentionally slowing down and disabling hotel customers own Wi-Fi networks so that Marriott could cash in on the customers being forced to use the hotel’s own expensive Wi-Fi package. The FCC complaint noted that Marriott was “jamming mobile hotspots so that you can’t use them in the convention space.”
In fact, Marriott employees had an actual “Wi-Fi monitoring system” that allowed them to see when customers were using their own Wi-Fi networks. As some businesses found out while using the Marriott convention area, Marriott would charge the business organizers over $1,000 per device to connect to their Wi-Fi network.
Now, rather than simply offer a competitively priced and fast Wi-Fi package to hotel customers, Marriott and other hotel companies are asking the FCC whether it is legal for them to “disable unauthorized Wi-Fi access points set up on their properties.”
As the Wall Street Journal reports, a hotel industry group (which includes Marriott) has petitioned the FCC for such guidance. The hotels believe that even though signal jammers are banned by the FCC, such banning does not apply to the unlicensed frequencies of Wi-Fi.
In what comes off as an utterly comical response, the hotels claim that they really want to jam customers Wi-Fi ability for “security and reliability” reasons. The hotels of course don’t go into any detail as to how or why security or reliability would be improved. Essentially, the hotels are saying whatever they can to act like they are doing this for any reason other than money.