Google And Microsoft Unite Against Marriott’s Wi-Fi Blocking Plan
Google and Microsoft may not be such a good friends, but as a matter of fact, both of them are promoters of technology. So they have united against the hotel industry, which is making efforts to block the use of personal Wi-Fi hotspots on its premises.
The hotel industry filed a petition to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking to block personal Wi-Fi networks on their properties.
American Hospitality & Lodging Association and Marriott International asked the FCC to declare that a hotel operator can use equipment to manage its network even if it results in interference with a wireless device or network on the operator’s property. The device or network may belong to a guest and the operator holds the right to block it to “better manage the network.”
“Wi-Fi network operators should be able to manage their networks in order to provide a secure and reliable Wi-Fi service to guests on their premises,” they said.
Back in March 2013, a consumer filed a complaint against Marriott for allegedly blocking guests from using their smartphones as personal Wi-Fi hotspots in the convention space at Opryland.
What was happening at Marriott’s end was that they were using a monitoring system that de-authenticated guests’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots. However, the problem was that the hotel was charging guests and attendees between $250 to $1,000 for Wi-Fi service.
Later in October, Marriott settled for $600,000 but argued that it hadn’t broken any law and that the hotel was merely using the monitoring system to protect guests from “rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft.”
Hilton Worldwide Inc wrote in support of Marriott claiming that managing network would have been difficult task if the personal networks would not have been blocked.
“Hilton could not meet its guests’ expectations were it unable to manage its Wi-Fi networks, including taking steps to protect against unauthorized access points that pose a threat to the reliability and security of that network,” wrote Hilton Worldwide.
Opponents of the proposal including Microsoft and Google argued that the hotel industry is just trying to do more business by making their guests use pricey hotel wireless networks. They suggested there are other options for monitoring network and offering security other than blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots.
Wi-Fi networks run on unlicensed airwaves so anyone can use them. But there are some limitations enforced by FCC on the type of devices that can use these airwaves.