FCC to Marriott: Shut up and sit down, you craven weasels

Marriott has been insisting that it was free to disable guest Wifi hotspots “for quality reasons,” which is transparently false: their reason is to force guests and conference-goers to use their overpriced facility wifi services. Charges for these can run to hundreds of dollars a day for some conferences, so there’s no doubt that they’re feeling a bite here — at the rates I sometimes see, it would be cheaper to go to a mall, buy a hotspot device from whatever provider you want, and then never use it again than it would be to pay for conference wifi.

Marriott paid a $600,000 fine about this earlier in the year, but was still agitating for a rule change to allow their tomfoolery. Last month, they backed down, but still insisted it was their right.

The FCC has issued a very clear opinion on the matter:

The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.


No hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment or the network operator providing services at such establishments may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hot spots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner’s Wi-Fi network. Such action is illegal and violations could lead to the assessment of substantial monetary penalties.

Boom. Headshot, assholes.

One thought on “FCC to Marriott: Shut up and sit down, you craven weasels

  1. Been there. Did a big book show with several bestselling authors including Hampton Sides and Ron Rash (whom you really need to read one of these days) at the Westin uptown. (The Westin appears to be part of the group that includes Sheraton, not Marriott.) They were happy to provide us tables and power connections, but if we wanted to use wi-fi (which we did, since we were running our POS software on a laptop), they wanted fucking ELEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. So we went to Best Buy and Sally picked up a wi-fi hot spot for basically free (it was added to our cell plan but the device itself was free). Is it true that one’s iPhone can actually be used as a hot spot?