Google, Microsoft Oppose Hotel Industry Attempt to Block Wi-Fi

By Paul Riegler on 24 December 2014
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DSC_0784The hotel industry is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission, asking it to allow them to block the use of personal hotspots on property, a move opposed by several major tech companies and a lobbying group for the U.S. telecommunications industry.

The petition was filed by Marriott International and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association.

Meanwhile, Google, Microsoft, and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association have come out opposed to the move, which came after the FCC fined Marriott International back in October of this year for blocking rival Wi-Fi networks at a Nashville resort in order to force guests to pay for access to the hotel’s Internet service.

“It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network,” said Travis LeBlanc, the agency’s enforcement bureau chief at the time.

The tech companies contend that hotels not only want to force guests to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi, for which there is usually a fee, especially at conferences and events, but that they are also trying to take control of unlicensed wireless frequencies, something which everyone should have equal access to by law.

In refuting the charges earlier this year, Marriott said it continued to believe that the Gaylord Opryland’s actions were “lawful” and said it has a “strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks, and identify theft.”

The hotel industry is largely repeating the same arguments in its current petition to the FCC

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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