Marriott's Response to Wi-Fi Criticism

Marriott logoMarriott has been criticized for blocking guests' personal Wi-Fi connections, and the company petitioned to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to use jammers. The request is still pending, but the FCC recently fined a Nashville Marriott for preventing guests' access to their own hotspots.

Critics say that Marriott wants to continue charging fees for Internet access while guests should be able to bring their own access. Conference guests, particularly, sometimes prefer their own hotspot to ensure a faster connection when multiple users are on simultaneously. But in a statement on its website, Marriott explains the company's position as a security issue rather than a way to control access:


Marriott's Response to FCC Petition Filing

We understand there have been concerns regarding our position on the FCC petition filing, perhaps due to a lack of clarity about the issue. 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. As a matter of fact, we invite and encourage our guests to use these Internet connectivity devices in our hotels. To be clear, this matter does not involve in any way Wi-Fi access in hotel guestrooms or lobby spaces.

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.

In light of the increased use of wireless technology to launch cyber-attacks and purposefully disrupt hotel networks, Marriott along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association on behalf of the entire hotel industry is seeking clarity from the FCC regarding what lawful measures a network operator can take to prevent such attacks from occurring. 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.

The FCC is accepting comments about the situation.

Discussion Starters: 

  • Marriott's statement has lots of qualifiers, such as, "To set the record straight," "As a matter of fact," and "To be clear." What do you make of these phrases? 
  • Should Marriott say more about the situation? The company denied comment for a Huffington Post article.