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Marriott fined $600K by FCC for Wi-Fi blocking scam
Today, the FCC announced that Marriott International, Inc. would pay $600,000 to the FCC for intentionally slowing down and disabling customers Wi-Fi networks so that Marriott could cash in one those customers purchasing an expensive Marriott Hotel Wi-Fi package.
In March 2013, the FCC received a complaint from a person who had attended a function at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The complaint noted that the hotel was “jamming mobile hotspots so that you can’t use them in the convention space.”
The FCC investigated the claim and found that Marriott employees were using “containment features” from a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. The FCC also found that in some cases, Marriott employees were sending “de-authorization packets to the targeted access points” which disconnects that consumers device from their own Wi-Fi hotspot.
This prevented individuals at the hotel from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks. In some cases, small businesses using the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Convention room would be forced to purchase a Marriott Wi-Fi network package costing as much as $1,000 per device.
According to the terms agreed upon by Marriott, they will be fined $600,000 and mandated to institute and file compliance reports with the FCC every three months for three years.