Jamming in Nashville Prompts $600K Fine

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Marriott International, Inc. and its subsidiary Marriott Hotel Services, Inc. (together, Marriott), have agreed to pay a $600,000 civil penalty to resolve an FCC investigation as to whether Marriott intentionally jammed consumers’ own Wi-Fi networks in Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  According to FCC investigators, Marriott employees in March 2013 used the containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system installed at the Nashville property to prevent consumers from connecting to the Internet using their own personal Wi-Fi networks (e.g., personal MiFi devices and hotspots).  At the same time, Marriott allegedly charged consumers $250-1000 per device to access Marriott’s own Wi-Fi network.  The FCC found such jamming activity to be in violation of the Communications Act resulting in not only the $600,000 penalty but also Marriott’s commitment to cease jamming in all of its U.S. properties and file periodic compliance reports.  According to the FCC, the investigation was the result of a single consumer complaint.

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