WASHINGTON, D.C. — Telecom giants Microsoft and Google have released statements to America’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing a Wi-Fi blocking plan in the hospitality industry.
Microsoft Corporations’ statement says: “Section 333 of the Communications Act prohibits willful or malicious interference with a radio-transmitting device authorized under the Communications Act…The Commission has repeatedly made clear that Wi-Fi is protected from jamming and interference under Section 333 and removing such protection would do harm to consumer welfare and the public interest. For the foregoing reasons, Microsoft respectfully urges the Commission to deny the Hotel Industry Interests’ Petition.”
This comes in response to a petition from the American Hospitality Lodging Association (AHLA), which includes Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International, requesting rules about blocking customers’ personal wireless modems and hotspots.
Marriott recently released statement in response to the FCC petition filing, citing concerns over security threats: “In light of the increased use of wireless technology to launch cyber attacks and purposefully disrupt hotel networks, Marriott along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association, on behalf of the entire hotel industry, is seeking clarity from the FCC regarding what lawful measures a network operator can take to prevent such attacks from occurring. We feel this is extremely important as we are increasingly being asked what measures we take to protect our conference and meeting guests and the conference groups that are using Wi-Fi technology in our hotels.”
In October, Marriott settled a dispute and paid a $600,000 penalty for blocking customers’ wireless modems at one of its hotels.