According to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Marriott has used Wi-Fi jammers to block personal hotspots at a hotel in Tennessee.
The FCC announced the results of its yearlong investigation on Friday, concluding that Marriott “intentionally interfered with and disabled Wi-Fi” networks at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. As a result of the investigation, Marriott will pay a $600,000 penalty to settle the complaint.
The investigation was spurred by an official complaint filed in March 2013. The user noticed that his mobile hotspot wasn’t working in the ballroom convention space and had faced similar issues at another Gaylord-branded hotel, which is Marriott’s line of convention-oriented hotels.
The investigation found that Marriott’s Wi-Fi monitoring system sent de-authentication packets to Wi-Fi hotspots. This use of radio frequencies to disrupt personal hotspots violated FCC spectrum use regulations.
While jamming personal Wi-Fi connections, Marriott was charging conference organizers and exhibitors between $250 and $1,000, per access point, to use the Gaylord's Wi-Fi connection.