Last year the FCC fined Marriott $600,000 for preventing guests at its Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center from accessing their hotspots in the convention center. The company was in effect forcing exhibitors and attendees to use the expensive hotel Wi-Fi network by hiding all others on the property.
Marriott claimed it needed to block "rogue" networks for security purposes. A convention attendee who filed a complaint about the inability to use his hotspot didn't agree, and neither did the FCC.
In response to the ruling and fine by the FCC, Marriott and the American Hotel & Lodging Association petitioned the FCC for a declaratory ruling, looking for a way forward to block guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots on hotel property.
Recently both Microsoft and Google separately entered the fray, each giving statements explaining why such blocking would be violating the rights of guests. The expectation that entities can use personal hotspots is not something to be taken lightly.
No doubt in response to the negative feedback from the public and Microsoft and Google, Marriott has issued a statement that it will not prevent guests from using personal hotspots on any of its properties. It went on to state it is looking for clarity from the FCC to determine appropriate ways to protect its networks and customers.
Marriott has pulled out of the Wi-Fi blocking argument, but the FCC must still determine the rules for such practice. The agency is expected to reach a finding on the petition sometime this year.