FCC Pulls Up Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) For Blocking Personal Hotspots

Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) hotel chain was denied a request to ‘block guests’ use of non-Marriott networks,’ by Federal Communications Commission. The hotel’s request – to instate new rules- to the FCC was a result of an October fine of $600,000 it levied on the hotel-chain for blocking personal Wi-Fi consumption at its Nashville hotel complex.

Against ‘basic principles’

In a mail, on Tuesday, the Chairman of FCC Tom Wheeler remarked that US Law does not allow radio communications interference. Wheeler stated that, seeking the Commission’s blessing to block guest’s use of personal networks was ‘contrary to basic principles’ of the law of the land.

Other members of the FCC were not as reticent about the hotels’ request and were quick to point out- as did Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the predominantly Democratic FCC- that the request was ‘a bad idea.’

Managing Security

For Marriott International Inc a defiant request with FCC to institute new rules to block personal Wi-Fi connections, was based on reasons of managing the security of the Mariott establishments. Own networks at the hotel complexes would permit unauthorized Wi-Fi broadcasts and therefore interfere in the security of the hotels.

However, two technology players, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) were quick to dismiss the security threat, and filed a petition, before FCC, the companies pleading justice.

Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) retaliated to the petition by insisting upon the regulatory body for rulemaking on the issue. Perhaps, Marriott’s intent was to push the FCC into making rules which would legitimize it’s levying nearly $1,000 charges per device for the use of Marriott’s network.

Wi-Fi Spectrum is no company’s own
Fortunately, the notice issued by FCC to the ‘Enforcement Advisory’ to ‘prohibit’ blocking third-party networks on Marriott’s premises does put an immediate end to the issue. FCC justified its ruling that Wi-Fi uses ‘unlicensed band of spectrum’ which does not belong to any of the carrier companies!