Unable To “Revive”: Marriott Loses Effort To Change Rule To Allow Hotels To Block Free WiFi For Guests

200px-Marriott_Logo.svgfcc-seal_rgb-largeWe recently discussed the $600,000 fine levied against Marriott for blocking customers’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Nashville, Tennessee hotel for blocking the WiFi of guests to force them to use the hotel’s WiFi at a high cost. Many of us condemned Marriott for its action, but the hotel was not only unbowed but actually sought to change the rule to allow hotels everywhere to bilk guests. On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission said no and told Marriott that its actions against its own guests is strictly “prohibited.” Unlike the hotel slogan, it appears that something you just can’t “Revive” . . . like trapping and charging guests in your hotels.

Hotels clearly fear no market backlash to treating like sheep to be fleeced. However, the FCC was blunt in its response to the effort to make guests WiFi captives:

“Persons or businesses causing intentional interference to Wi-Fi hotspots are subject to enforcement action . . . The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises.

. . . No hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment or the network operator providing services at such establishments may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network . . . Such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties.”

The ruling also ruins the use of Hotel California as Marriott’s new song:

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

Source: Technica

17 thoughts on “Unable To “Revive”: Marriott Loses Effort To Change Rule To Allow Hotels To Block Free WiFi For Guests”

  1. It has always amazed me that the most expensive hotels charge you between $10-$20 a day for their WiFi and the budget chains like Hampton and Holiday Inn Express provide it free. This is really a new twist, not only was Marriott charging guest but was jamming other WiFi signals so guest could not receive it from other sources, Sneaky,

  2. The name Marriott comes from the name of the wife of the founder of the company George Ott. Her name was Mary Ann Ott. If there is a device which will kill wifi signals then I want one. I want one which will kill cell phone signals. Then as I drive down the highway all the schumucks yakking or texting on their phones and laptops will have to wonder about the interruption and put the eye back on the road. Guide dogs don’t let blind guys use cell phones when they drive.

  3. I urge all of you to go to a Marriott for one night. Swim the pool, and drop a few turds in the water. Rip up the towels. Pay in cash. Don’t let them near a credit card of yours. No free access to wifi? Cut their cables. ArtFay in their lobby.

  4. What Mariott has been doing isn’t jamming. They have been sending bogus packets that force user devices to disconnect from hotspots. How is that not a violation of the CFAA, which has been used against journalists and others and resulted in long Federal prison terms?

  5. For all Marriott Rewards members, wifi is free @ all their properties as of 1/15/15. That said, you can often get a desk clerk to comp a wifi fee, particularly if you are a reward member of that chain. I spent 2 summers as a desk clerk. They often have leeway in comp. Always ask for something, some upgrade, some perk. All they can do is say “No.” But, I realize hearing “no” is tough for some folks.

  6. As a Marriott stockholder, I applauded this move to replace revenue lost by not being able to charge “guests” $7 per minute for a local phone call. As an advisor to the Marriott board, I plan to recommend 15 foot tall wrought iron fences be installed around all properties such that when “guests” check in, they’ll not be able to access food from outside sources and Marriott will be able to profit by selling bottled soda for $4.50 and bags of chips for $5.

    Oh wait, they’re already doing that (minus the fences).

  7. The free market is the champion of the individual, is the champion of individualism. The government is necessary to protect the champion from the individual and to protect the rights of the individual to enjoy a free market………

    I am reminded of the Yin and Yang symbols and the snake eating its tail.

    However, there is nothing here open to interpretation. A captive is a captive is a captive. Nice to see the government doing its job.

  8. It seems to me that this would have sorted itself out without the government, but a little regulation in this area is not a bad thing. The airwaves are free and Marriott was basically acting like a pirate here by disrupting them.

  9. Lloyd,
    You are either deliberately misstating free market principles, or so badly misinformed it’s comical.

  10. This goes against the tenets of Rand free market capitalism where anything goes and the individual be damned? Marriott should have the right – and has the obligation – to do as it pleases on its own property….. Maybe Marriott’s next profit mongering stunt would have been blocking all communication to its hotels unless you rented a phone and laptop from them.

  11. This must be something peculiar to the Marriott hotels in that area, I stay there on a regular basis and have never had an issue using my Verizon hotspot.

    But seriously, what were they thinking? How could they possibly think that blocking cell signals was even remotely a good idea?

    I also wonder what gear they used. Cell jammers are illegal. Just owning the equipment might expose them to criminal charges.

  12. Still I say self righteous greed always gets you in the end.

    The Opryland Marriott just went threw a terrible Norovirus problem at the hotel here in Nashville. Health Department had to go in. There has to be a better balance than a race to the bottom for workers and customers than a obscene profit attempt for you investors.

Comments are closed.