Marriott hotels back down on plans to block guests' Wi-Fi hotspots
The Marriott chain of hotels has backtracked on its plans to block guests' Wi-Fi hotspots. The group had previously indicated a desire to make use of blocking equipment with a view to increasing security. But the likes of Google and Microsoft saw this as undue interference and decided to fight the plans.
Marriott International went as far as applying to the FCC for permission to use signal blocking equipment, but it has now done a complete 180 and announced that no Wi-Fi blocks will be put in place.
Many opponents believed that, despite claims about bolstering security, the blocking plans were actually designed to encourage guests to pay for internet access in hotels rather than making use of personal connections. It's not all that long -- October, in fact -- since Marriott was fined a total of $600,000 by the FCC for blocking personal hotspots, so the change of heart is perhaps not entirely surprising.
In a statement on the company website, Marriott said:
Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels. Marriott remains committed to protecting the security of Wi-Fi access in meeting and conference areas at our hotels.
But that's not to say that the group isn't going to keep working with the Federal Communications Commission to try to improve network security:
We will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of Wi-Fi devices.
Whether this is a case of listening to customers or bowing to pressure from the tech industry, the announcement will please hotel guests who can continue to make use of their own Wi-Fi hotspots without interruption.