Marriott is surrendering to customer demand and dropping efforts to block Wi-Fi devices. The hotel giant recently issued a statement clarifying that guests can now bring their own Wi-Fi-capable devices inside the hotel without any worry of having their hot spot blocked.
A huge fine changes Marriott’s practice
The hotel recently was forced to cough up a $600,000 fine, all because of a complaint about the hotel’s practice of blocking guests’ personal hot spots and Wi-Fi. Marriott explained it was trying to protect guests from hackers. The company even went as far as submitting a request to the FCC in hopes of continuing to be allowed to do it.
Google, Microsoft, and its other allies called Marriott out on the issue and spoke out against the request. Google summed it up with the following comment: “Allowing property owners to block guests’ access to unaffiliated networks would be inconsistent with the goals of promoting competition and development of technologies in the market for Internet access.”
Google and Microsoft stand against Marriott
Microsoft added its two cents: “The Commission has repeatedly made clear that Wi-Fi is protected from jamming and interference under Section 333, and removing such protection would do harm to consumer welfare and the public interest. For the foregoing reasons, Microsoft respectfully urges the Commission to deny the Hotel Industry Interests’ Petition.”
Marriott is backing down on its initial plan and listening to guests’ demands. The company shared a short announcement on Wednesday claiming to remain committed to protecting customer security. Marriott will continue to work with the FCC in efforts to protect sensitive customer information.
The Marriott chain isn’t the only hotel company to charge customers for those little extras like Wi-Fi. Many hotels charge those who raid the mini-bar, but some also charge for simpler things like mineral water. According to HotelChatter.com, Wi-Fi charges are the new telephone charges. Although a significant number of hotel chains stopped charging for Wi-Fi, at least 10 chains still did. Marriott, Starwood Hotels, and Ritz-Carlton were mentioned in the list.