by Michael J. Shapiro | January 07, 2015
Marriott International issued a statement clarifying the lodging company's FCC petition filing and its position on Wi-Fi network blocking. The FCC fined Marriott $600,000 last October for jamming personal Wi-Fi hotspots set up by guests and attendees in the Gaylord Opryland meeting spaces. With its petition filing, notes Marriott, it is attempting to clarify the law and its parameters. "To set the record straight, it has never been nor will it ever be Marriott's policy to limit our guests' ability to access the Internet by all available means, including through the use of personal Mi-Fi and/or Wi-Fi devices," reads Marriott's statement. "As a matter of fact, we invite and encourage our guests to use these Internet connectivity devices in our hotels." Marriott goes on to specify that its efforts are directed only toward meeting and conference spaces, not in guest rooms or lobbies.

"The question at hand is what measures a network operator can take to detect and contain rogue and imposter Wi-Fi hotspots used in our meeting and conference spaces that pose a security threat to meeting or conference attendees or cause interference to the conference guest wireless network." Marriott, now supported by the American Hotel & Lodging Association on this issue, is seeking clarification on just what hotel venues can do to protect their attendees from cyber attacks. "We feel this is extremely important as we are increasingly being asked what measures we take to protect our conference and meeting guests and the conference groups that are using Wi-Fi technology in our hotels," reads the statement. The FCC is still taking public comments on the petition filing, which is generating a good deal of controversy. Google, in opposing the filing, said that allowing hotel operators to block personal hotspots would undermine the public interest supported by the FCC ruling.