Marriott has backed off of its plan to block guests from using their personal wifi devices at any of its managed hotels, including its conference facilities, the US-based conglomerate said in a statement.
But the statement says the company:
"will continue to look to the FCC [Federal Communiations Commission] to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data, and will continue to work with the industry and others to find appropriate market solutions that do not involve the blocking of Wi-Fi devices."
It's unclear if Marriott will revise and resubmit its petition to the FCC. As currently worded, the company continues to request broad permission that would theoretically still include the blocking of guests' personal wifi.
Hilton wrote in support of the petition as it was worded. Both hotel companies say they worry about needing to block networks that, in Marriott's words,
"pose a security threat to meeting or conference attendees or cause interference to the conference guest wireless network."
Marriott is the only US chain to have an admitted policy of blocking wifi.
Last October it was fined $600,000 by the FCC for using a jamming system to prevent its customers from using their own mobile hotspots at a Nashville property, where its cost for Internet access was up to $1,000 per day per device.
Inc's Kimberley Weisul had the scoop on Marriott's changed policy. The most thorough, though opinionated, review of the whole issue is by Glenn Fleishman in BoingBoing.
NB: Image via Shutterstock.