Hotel Wi-Fi: Knock your block off

MARRIOTT has admitted to jamming customers’ Wi-Fi hotspots in “at least one” of its hotels, forcing business travellers to pay for the chain’s own Wi-Fi service, according to America’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Marriott normally charges customers $14.95 per day for its Wi-Fi service, but in this case the costs were much higher—the jamming happened during a conference at which Marriott was charging exhibitors and journalists “as much as $1,000 per device” for access, according to the FCC. “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,” Travis LeBlanc, the FCC’s top enforcement official, said in a press release.Marriott, which was fined $600,000, doesn’t seem sorry. The chain released a statement arguing that it was trying to protect customers from “rogue wireless hotspots” and demanded the FCC make a formal rule on the issue.Gulliver thinks that is balderdash. Marriott shouldn’t need an FCC rule to know what it was doing was wrong—and that if it was discovered, the negative PR would damage the company’s bottom line far more than a couple of hundred Wi-Fi signups would help. Moreover, the FCC operates an entire website that details the laws about Wi-Fi jammers. At the top of the site is this big warning box: ***ALERT*** …

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