Marriott withdraws FCC petition for blocking guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots

Marriott withdraws FCC petition for blocking guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots

In a recently-released statement, bigwig hotel chain Marriott International has said that it has officially withdrawn petition to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in which it had sought permission to prevent the use of Wi-Fi external networks by the guests when they are inside the hotel.

Via its petition, Marriott was chiefly seeking direction from the FCC on legal Wi-Fi security measures. The hotel chain essentially wanted to "clarify" what legal measures it is allowed to take to block or otherwise prohibit its guests from using any other Wi-Fi networks except the Marriott hotel wireless networks.

Marriott's decision to withdraw the petition to the FCC comes close on the heels of the agency's recent release of an enforcement advisory which stated that the move by hotels and other commercial organization to block customers from using Wi-Fi external networks violates Section 333 of the Communications Act, and can elicit "substantial monetary penalties."

The FCC pointed out that the mentioned section of the Communications Act prevents hotels and other commercial organizations from interfering with customers' devices and deactivating their personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

The FCC had said in the advisory: "No hotel, convention center, or other commercial establishment or the network operator providing services of such establishments may intentionally block or disrupt personal Wi-Fi hotspots on such premises, including as part of an effort to force consumers to purchase access to the property owner's Wi-Fi network."

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