Marriott has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $600,000 to resolve Federal Communications Commission allegations that the chain’s Nashville, Tenn. hotel used Wi-Fi “jammers” to prevent customers from creating hot spots with their smart phones or other devices. According to terms of the settlement, Marriott has agreed to pay the fine without admitting to any specific violation.
By blocking personal hot spots, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, operated by Marriott, allegedly raked in thousands of dollars in Wi-Fi fees from hotel patrons who had no other option but to use the hotel’s Wi-Fi for internet access, according to an FCC announcement released Friday. The jammers targeted the hotel’s convention center, where rates for internet access range 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,” said Travis LeBlanc, head of the FCC’s enforcement bureau. “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots.”
According to the terms of the consent decree, Marriott will also implement procedures to improve its handling of IT issues at the Nashville hotel.
Marriott did not immediately reply to Time’s request for comment on the settlement.
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