On January 30th, Marriott International and the American Hospitality and Lodging Association announced the withdrawal of the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) petition requesting to block personal WiFi devices. In my previous blog, Marriott’s Request to Block WiFi Hurts Small Business, I discussed the expense implications for small businesses if WiFi was jammed at conference centers, such as the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, where Marriott had previously blocked personal WiFi devices. As a result of the situation at the Gaylord, Marriott was fined$600,000 by the FCC and submitted a formal request for permission to block personal WiFi devices due to network security concerns.
There were 39 letters filed to the FCC responding to the request, 38 of which were negative and 1 which was neutral. Additionally, a slew of tech writers called Marriott out on the ridiculous nature of the security concerns. Marriott customers on social media vowed to switch hotel loyalty programs if Marriott was allowed to block WiFi. Needless to say the backlash created a public relations night for Marriott International that was difficult to ignore.
On January 14th,2015, a Marriott spokesman made this statement to Inc., ” Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal WiFi devices at any of our managed hotels.” A formal statement was released last Friday by Marriott and the American Hospitality and Lodging Association that they would withdraw the petition filed with the FCC.
This is great news for travelers as many feared if Marriott’s request was approved other hotels would quickly follow. The situation also raised concerns over WiFi blocking for other public areas. The FCC has made it clear that any type of WiFi jamming/blocking is illegal and they will continue enforce this regulation.
Business Travel Life
Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.