On Friday, Scott Mayerowitz reported on Marriott’s big settlement with the FCC over blocking guests use of their own wifi.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center wants its exhibitors to pay $250 to $1000 each to the hotel’s wifi. So they didn’t want folks to be able to bring their own, and they used equipment to jam the signal.
It’s one thing to provide a service, a convenience, even at a high price. It’s another thing to have folks find themselves in the exhibit hall and prevent them from using a service they had prepared to bring themselves in order to extort money from them.
If the hotel had a policy clearly on its website, or in its meetings and events contracts that stated only hotel wifi signals could be used (and requiring meeting hosts to inform participants in advance), it would still be a pretty nasty thing to do but I could accept it.
Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft. Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers. We believe that the Gaylord Opryland’s actions were lawful. We will continue to encourage the FCC to pursue a rulemaking in order to eliminate the ongoing confusion resulting from today’s action and to assess the merits of its underlying policy.
We want people to use our wifi because it’s safe, and we block all other signals so no one longs onto an unscrupulous network by accident. How kind of them.
I’m tempted to wonder whether Marriott Rewards ‘protects’ elite members from complimentary breakfast at Courtyard properties, and from being able to confirm upgrades to suites. Feel free to speculate why a lack of benefits could be for our own good in the comments.