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Marriott Fined $600,000 By FCC for Blocking Wi-Fi

Marriott entered into an agreement to pay a $600,000 fine on Friday, bringing an end to an FCC investigation that found the hotel blocked access to personal Wi-Fi hotspots at one of its hotels while charging guests as much as $1,000 to connect to its own Wi-Fi network. Employees of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, used Wi-Fi monitoring software to find and jam people trying to access the Internet with their own devices, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claimed. The FCC acted on a tip from someone who had stayed in the hotel during a conference. He said that Wi-Fi hotspots were being blocked while the hotel was charging exhibitors and attendees anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per device. "Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personal Internet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center," Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau, said in a statement. In response, Marriott said that its actions were "lawful" and were necessary to protect its guests from "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft."

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— Keith Wagstaff