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October 3, 2014

Marriott Fined $600K for Blocking Personal Wi-Fi Devices

The Associated Press is reporting that Marriott International will pay the government a $600,000 fine for jamming conference attendees' personal Wi-Fi networks at one of its hotels, forcing them instead to pay as much as $1,000 each to use the hotel's own connection.

Frequent travelers often carry devices that can connect to the Internet via cell phone towers and create a Wi-Fi signal called a "hotspot." Last year, a conference attendee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, managed by Marriott, complained to the Federal Communications Commission when one of these hotspots was jammed by the hotel, noting that this was the second time this kind of interference had happened at a Gaylord property. 

The FCC said Marriott charged conference exhibitors $250 to $1,000, per device, to use the Gaylord's Wi-Fi connection, even while paying their mobile provider to have their own hotspots enabled. 

Marriott, in turn, said that the issue was about protecting its network, the AP noted.

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