This will make your blood boil. Marriott International admitted that it de-authenticated visitor and exhibitor connections to their mobile hotspots at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, requiring them to pay as much as $1,000 per device to link to the hotel’s Wi-Fi system, the FCC disclosed today. That violates the Communications Act, which bars anyone from interfering with a legal radio communication. Marriott agreed to pay $600,000 civil penalty as part of a consent decree to resolve the FCC’s investigation. It also must develop a plan to comply with the law and file reports to the FCC every three months for three years with “information documenting any use of access point containment features at any U.S. property that Marriott manages or owns.”
The agency became involved in March 2013 when it received a complaint from someone who had attended an event at Gaylord Opyland. The person said that the hotel was “jamming mobile hotspots so you can’t use them in the convention space.” Investigators confirmed the report at the facility, which Marriott has managed since 2012.
“It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc says. “This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”