Marriott International wants to let you use your personal WiFi hotspots after all.
The hotel chain announced Wednesday that it will “not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels” after originally saying the opposite.
Marriott faced backlash from Microsoft and Google for its decision to keep guests from using their own WiFi. The companies, along with the wireless trade association CTIA, wrote letters to the FCC and argued that the hotels were attempting to take control of unlicensed spectrum.
Marriott, meanwhile, said that it wanted to provide guests with a secure Internet experience. The company this week said it “remains committed to protecting the security of Wi-Fi access in meeting and conference areas at our hotels.”
“We will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of Wi-Fi devices,” Marriott wrote.
Blocking personal WiFi hotspots for hotels with conference rooms is a big issue. Often times, conference attendees and/or exhibitors are forced to purchase “official” WiFi at the hotel to do in-booth demos, for example, and allowing personal WiFi hotspots may interfere with any contracts Marriott has with a WiFi supplier. Marriott actually had to pay a $600,000 fine in October to resolve an FCC investigation regarding the hotel blocking personal hotspots during a convention.