Monday, October 6, 2014

Marriott busted for jamming guests WiFi

They have agreed to pay a $600,000 fine, but claim they did nothing illegal. I think someone should go to jail. That fine is peanuts to Marriott.
Hotel WiFi sucks. If you do any traveling, you're aware of this. Though, from what I've seen, the higher end the hotel, the worse the WiFi is and the more insane its prices are. Cheap discount hotels often offer free WiFi, and it's generally pretty reliable. High end hotels? I've seen prices of $30 per day or higher, and it's dreadfully low bandwidth. These days, when traveling, I often pick hotels based on reviews of the WiFi quality, because nothing can be more frustrating than a crappy internet connection when it's needed. But, even worse than the WiFi in your room, if you're using the WiFi for a business meeting or event -- the hotels love to price gouge. And, it appears that's exactly what the Marriott-operated Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville did. Except, the company went one step further. Thanks to things like tethering on phones and MiFi devices that allow you to set up your own WiFi hotspot using wireless broadband, Marriott realized that some smart business folks were getting around its (absolutely insane) $1,000 per device WiFi charges, and just using MiFi's. So, Marriott then broke FCC regulations and started jamming the devices to force business folks to pay its extortionate fees.

In response, the FCC has now cracked down and Marriott has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine for the practice, while also promising to continue to make sure it doesn't make use of jammers and to update the FCC on "compliance" every three months for the next three years.

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