FCC, Don't Let Hotels Block Guests' Wi-Fi!

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

As a frequent traveler, it’s great to know Marriott now offers green hotels rooms at some locations. But it’s not so great that they are seeking to block patrons’ use of personal Wi-Fi devices.

Marriott International and American Hospitality and Lodging Association have petitioned the FCC to allow hotels to remotely disable the Wi-Fi devices that some patrons use to connect their computers to the Internet through cellular service companies. Hotels are actually asking for an exception to the rule that prohibits such “wilfull” interference, arguing that Wi-Fi signals use unlicensed frequencies and shouldn’t be protected like licensed services. Critics, however, say the argument is “absurd” because the government itself has authorized unlicensed Wi-Fi devices and networks.

If the hotels win, guests would either be forced to pay for the mediocre, at best, wireless services provided by hotels, or else put up with free services that are little better than dial up - and pay even more if they want to stream videos.

Don’t let the hotels win this one. Tell the FCC not to let hotels block guests' Wi-Fi!

We, the undersigned, say hotels have no right to interfere with guests Wi-fi devices.

Apparently FCC has already shown its disapproval by fining Marriott last October $600,000 for charging its Nashville convention guests $250 to $1,000 per device to connect to the hotel-operated Wi-Fi service.

Although hotels’ claim of protecting guest from rogue Wi-fi networks has some merit, critics say there are other ways to deal with this problem via law enforcement.

An editorial in the New York Times calls this a “brazen” attempt to” limit customer choice, and theFederal Communications Commission should say no.” But if it does, says the Times editorial, hotels are threatening to further alienate guests by blocking guests with Wi-Fi devices from checking in or imposing other restrictions.

We ask the FCC to deny Marriott’s and the AHLA’s request to disable patrons’ Wi-Fi devices and warn hotels that they stand to lose business if they persist in their efforts to block customer choice.

Thanks for your time.

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