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FCC fines Marriott for blocking hotspots

(Bloomberg) Marriott International Inc., the Bethesda-based hotel company, was fined $600,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for blocking hotel customers from connecting to the Internet on personal Wi-Fi networks in order to force them to pay for the hotel’s networks. Marriott employees blocked mobile hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network, the FCC said in a statement Friday. Under a consent decree with the FCC, Marriott must stop using Wi-Fi blocking technology and file compliance reports every three months for three years. Marriott said it was protecting hotel guests from degraded service and possible identity theft.