Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently came together to oppose the hotel industry’s petition, which seeks the regulatory approval to block personal Wi-Fi hotspots within their properties.
This summer, Marriott International Inc (NASDAQ:MAR) and the American Hospitality & Lodging Association asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow hotel operators to manage its network even if it causes interference to a wireless devices being used by guests.
At the time, Marriott was facing an investigation in connection with a March 2013 complaint that alleged the hotel operator for blocking guests from using their devices as personal Wi-Fi hotspots at Opryland convention space. The Marriott was using a monitoring system at Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, which de-authenticated attendees’ personal Wi-Fi hot spots.
The FCC said that the hotel was charging attendees and exhibitors for Wi-Fi service it provides, anywhere from $250 to $1,000. Marriott settled an FCC complaint in October by paying $600,000. However, the hotel operator argued that it hadn’t broken the law as it was using a monitoring technology to protect guests against identity theft or cyber-attacks and “rogue” wireless hotspots that could result in degraded service.
Now the opponents of the request argued that the hotel industry is just trying to make guests dependable on their pricy wireless networks. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) said in a filing that allowing such requests to block personal access to Wi-Fi signals would undermine the benefits of unlicensed use.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) also sought the agency to “kill” the request.
The CTIA, wireless industry’s trade group, also noted that no single entity shall be allowed to intentionally prevent users from utilizing the unlicensed spectrum to access Wi-Fi. The public interest is best served by supporting the potential for these networks and not by shutting them down.