FCC blocks Marriott’s wifi blocking plan

Good news for consumers: The FCC has come down definitively against the idea of wifi hotspot blocking. The move follows comments earlier in the day from one of the Commissioners suggesting that the proposal was a bad idea. Marriott‘s proposal to be able to block wifi hotspots was framed to the feds as an issue of data security – don’t let extra hotspots steal your credit card information! – but it is clear that the petition also wanted to allow Marriott to block some hotspots in conference room environments as a means to protect the infrastructure, and revenue model, it has built.

Speaking at a State of the Net conference on Tuesday FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworce was rather direct in her opposition to the petition, according to Verge.com

There are other ways to address legitimate network security concerns, but this is a bad idea.

And later in the day the FCC issued its ruling on the petition:

The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premises. As a result, the Bureau is protecting consumers by aggressively investigating and acting against such unlawful intentional interference.

In other words, back off, folks.

It is worth noting that Marriott kept the petition filed even after promising to not block customer wifi, a move which had some (self included) questioning the sincerity of the promise. Fortunately for travelers that should not be an issue any more.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Alternatively, Marriott can wait till 2017 when a more business-friendly FCC will be happy to accommodate their every whim.

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