Google And Microsoft Want Hotels To Stop Blocking Your Wi-Fi

Larry Page and Sergey Brin of GoogleGettyGoogle founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Google and Microsoft have signed up to join a lobbying group that opposes the hotel industry’s plan to start blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

Re/Code is reporting that the two tech giants are arguing against a proposal by hotel groups including Marriott International to use blocking hardware to prevent their customers using cell phones to create personal Wi-Fi hotspots for their laptops or tablets.

Hotel groups don’t like people creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots because it means that customers can avoid costly hotel Wi-Fi charges, by instead using their own mobile phone data plans.

The hotel group proposal is for the FCC to allow them to use blockers to prevent people creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots. Good hotels provide Wi-Fi or ethernet cable internet access for free. But bad ones force guests to buy hotel Wi-Fi access. 

Hotels have been caught using Wi-Fi blockers in the past. The Marriott hotel group was fined $US600,000 in October after the FCC found that it had blocked consumer Wi-Fi networks during an event at a hotel in Nashville. The FCC said at the time that consumers who have bought data plans should be able to use them instead of paying the hotel up to $US1,000 per device to use its own Wi-Fi facilities.

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