Marriott Hotels does not like customers using Wi-Fi, apart from its own hotel Wi-Fi, and is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify on whether blocking Wi-Fi in certain areas is allowed or not.
It comes after the FCC fined the Marriott $600,000 for blocking users access to Wi-Fi hotspots and tethered smartphones, an illegal practice according to the commission.
The petition, backed by various hotel firms, claims that hospitals, corporate campuses and events block Wi-Fi communications, and hotels should be able to use similar blocking tools.
Going under the mask of protecting customer security, the petition claims using unauthenticated Wi-Fi hotspots could be damaging for customers at the hotel.
The real reason is loss of revenue, customers are using mobile devices a lot nowadays, meaning signing into Wi-Fi is necessary. If Marriott can block connection to outside polls, its own Wi-Fi service will be the only option for customers.
The Marriott likes to charge an excess for its own glorious Wi-Fi, even though it is much slower than the average 4G LTE connection in the U.S.
Even though the Marriott and other hotel chains think they have a chance in changing the law, the FCC has been pretty decisive against hotel chains the past, making sure they understand the law.
If that wasn’t enough, Microsoft and Google have both chimed in to make sure the Marriott does not get access to block Wi-Fi portals from outside the hotel.
Hotels are not the same as hospitals or corporate campuses, where Wi-Fi is actually blocked for security reasons. Even at events, the normal reason is to make sure no electronics are shut down by overwhelming traffic to a network.
If the petitions only purpose is loss of revenue, and the Marriott cannot show a security issue in public Wi-Fi, it will lose its petition straight away.