Skip to main content

Microsoft teams up with Google to oppose hotels blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots

Google and Microsoft are joining a wireless industry lobbying group in a bid to oppose a recent hotel industry petition, which seeks the FCC's permission to block personal Wi-Fi networks set up in hotel rooms by customers. The two giant companies may not see eye to eye each day, but they have banded together on topics to represent and protect consumers – this being one of them.

According to the report on Re/code:

This summer, the American Hospitality & Lodging Association and Marriott International asked the FCC to declare that a hotel operator can use equipment to manage its network even if it may result in 'interference with or cause interference' to a [wireless device] being used by a guest on the operator's property.

Hotels argue that they have measures in place to protect customers from "rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft". Both Google and Microsoft have asked in a filing to kill the request, noting guests accessing their own Wi-Fi have equal rights to use the unlicensed spectrum.

Source: Re/code

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

72 Comments
  • Well done
  • This has Mit Romney all over it.
  • First thought came to my mind after reading half title was "YouTube" yaaay. ~_~
  • +1520
  • Do people really watch that much YouTube on their phones? I honest have used YouTub like maybe once a month, and viewing it via IE is fine by me.
  • Uhm yeah?
    But Metrotube has done a fine job, so the official one isn't really needed.
  • Half the problem are videos posted on Facebook
  • My kids are on YouTube constantly on their phones.
  • Other than Facebook it's probably the most used app on mobile phones
  • Tell me about it... Too bad Larry Page is the personification of the Devil himself.
  • Same :)
  • Tubemate and tubecast are great YouTube clients... Not that much need of YouTube though
  • Teamed up with google....for this? I can think of other, possibly better things they could team up for...
  • A team implies both parties would be willing to work together. It doesn't work very long if one side isn't willing to. You think it's that easy to come up with ways to team up?
    Surely, they probably don't see eye to eye on most things, like Youtube + Google services....
  • This is good. I refuse to use WiFi at any place that still charges for the "privilege," and just simply tether to my phone. Hell, my phone's data connection is faster most the time anyways, and I don't have to worry about other people on the network snooping on my connection.
  • Yes, hotel networks are PAINFULLY SLOW!  You are sharing with 1500 other people watching netflix and porn, which is why it takes 15 minutes to check your email in a busy highrise hotel.  And then they charge you typically about $10 a day to use that shitty network.  And now they want to block us from using our own mobile data connections?  The hotels are out of their minds!
  • They are not teaming up per se. Both the companies just happen to agree on a same issue. Article is bit ambitious I guess.
  • A Christmas miracle everybody! :D
  • I don't think it's miracle for me.
    If it is I would love Lumia 930 just fall into my bed while I'm sleeping.
    Inside the box of course with all the pakace
  • Hahaha yeah that would be lovely. Or a new flagship that arrives with Windows 10 for phones! 
  • If I have to buy it that's no miracle.
  • WTF they team up for this reason. They should team up and frist bring Youtube, Hangouts and Google Plus app on WP platform
  • Hangouts? Google+? What are you smoking?
  • Jackspappa I am the only one in my college friends who use Windows Phone and they use Hangouts for Video call and for chat. That's why I want Hangouts and I think that the functions of Hangouts is incomplete without Google Plus that why I said Google Plus. Otherwise I am also not much interested in Google Plus
  • That's like saying you want face time... Tell them to use Skype. Make new friends. Where here for you bud :)
  • You're right. I'd love not to have to use Google's stuff, but the reality it most everyone else does... It's not so easy to convince a social group to switch to Skype just "because". Thanks Google for being just as monopolistic as Microsoft was back in the 90's...
  • No one uses google plus and hangout here. I'm surprised ppl use it. Skype still more popular here
  • I wish I could say more people use Skype here in the states....but with the ever-more "popular" duopoly of Apple and Samsung here, that won't die anytime soon. Sometimes I wonder why I still live out here...lol. Maybe I should be a European instead ;)
  • Still everyone uses hangouts on their phones. However Skype ALL the way on the PC :) Skype is a real battery killer on phones.. It's getting better I guess.
  • Since travel for business using Marriott this is important to me.
  • Don't know if any of you guys know but the hotel industry is terrible in the U.S., and you have no choice cause so many small bed and breakfast has been put out of business.
  • Yep..... Not a fan.
  • What a pity.. Om gosh
  • reading the title was dreaming about a collaboration to brind google apps to windows phone
  • I think the hotels do have a right to "jam," and I support that right. Renting a room or attending a conference does not imply that you can do whatever you want. Yes, the spectrum is free, but you are on their land. Leave the hotels property if you need to use your wifi, or simply stay at a different hotel. They are coming at this from the perspective of the desire to provide solid, reliable access, but the media (advertising) has muddled the story into it being about one instance when a hotel charged too much for access. Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc. all REALLY want you you stay on your carrier network because they have agreements with those carriers that entitles them to your traffic and usage logs - they get it all. They want 24/7 footprints, and this is how they get it-specifically for people who turn off history, sharing, compression etc in which you voluntarily share that info. You may think that a small window of time while you are in a hotel is meaningless, but your behavior at a hotel is actually very valuable, highly sought after marketing data. Thinking that MS and Google are looking out for you, at least in this case, is foolish.
  • Any proof for all that stuff you claim about tech companies and carriers?
  • Different for all carriers - read your terms and conditions.
  • Read this and then consider additional applications. For instance, if Nordstrom offers free wifi if you sign into facebook from your phone and like their page. http://lifehacker.com/how-retail-stores-track-you-using-your-smartphone-... This is essentially the same way carrier allow MS or Google to track you, but instead of using MAC address, they use your IP and paired DNS servers (i.e every WP on Verizon is assigned MS owned and operated DNS server that create databases of the DNS request you make)
  • Im going to assume you dont stay in too many hotels. The words "solid, relaiable access" often arent in the same sentence as "hotel wifi" unless youre referring to the lack of. Hell, many hotels charge a fee for average wifi access. Wait a min...
  • Then perhaps you would be ok with them blocking the calls to your phone. Or maybe they're unhappy about who you're rooming with, and should be able to decline to rent rooms to interracial couples. Ade, we have laws in this country so that people can enjoy the basics of day-to-day life without someone interfering with them because it doesn't suit their profit motive/religious objections/personal bigotry. Enjoyment of the open spectrum is one of those things that the law should protect, even on somebody else's property.
  • Jason, hotels run a business and part of what they offer is paid wifi service. They created the hotel and offer the services they like. This country's laws allow them to do that. Hotels struggle to provide reliable wireless for a few reasons, but one of them has to do with band utilization. There simply aren't enough available channels, nor educated people, to allow everyone to broadcast their own wifi hot spot. It ruins service for everyone. And specifically, for the people who have paid a hotel for that service.
  • Choice.  How does it work? It's a free country until someone does something that offends your sense of righteousness.  Then, it's time to call in the Goon Squad to enforce your moral code.  Are you *sure* you know what freedom is? FWIW, I think that Marriot is being idiotic.  That will have a serious effect on where I choose to stay next time.
  • Hotels overly priced and usually lousy internet services would just get worse with Jamming other WiFi signals!
  • No. Sure, it is their property but they are willingly letting you rent it for a night - that automatically binds them with certain laws. Having the basic freedom to do these things is one of them. You wouldn't kick out your tenant if he/she were to use their own Wi-Fi now would you? Plus if I'm banking online, you bet I'd be using my carrier as opposed to the hotels WiFi. The problem that the hotels say they're trying to fix, on the other hand, can be easily fixed by more opennes on their part. Just tell people that ONLY "Marriot WiFi" is their network and pursue legal action against anyone who tries copying that name for a network. Moreover, it is pretty foolish to think that they can prevent cyber attacks by just guarding their Wi-Fi. It wouldn't be too hard for an experienced hacker to break into your local hotel's network. This really is a non issue.
  • Yeah...and I have the right to stay in a hotel that doesn't charge me for it and doesn't block me. 
  • Electromagnetic waves are also propagating through lands which had different owners so its not hotels property.
  • I think it took a lot of courage and integrity for the AHLA to admit what a dangerous and hostile environment their customers currently must endure. And for Google and MS to act as defenders of degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft is unconscionable.
  • Shouldn't customers be able to manage those risks as they see fit? You must be a hotel industry hack. "Courage and integrity" my ass.
  • And you must be invulnerable to sarcasm.
  • How about Google blocking their services..
  • Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
  • Next they'll say you have to eat in the hotel and drink at their bar by law. Phucking thieves! I hope this gets nuked. Unbelievable gaul by the hotel industry.
  • Team to make some official Google apps like Google drive etc
  • Wait...Hotels in the US charge you for WiFi? Really? What a rip-off.
  • It depends on the hotel, but some do charge you an extra fee. I suppose its pretty similar to how, where I live at least, landlords don't cover wifi in the rent most of the time, so it does make sense I guess.
  • Some offer free WiFi, but many charge for it. Some by the hour, and it gets expensive. Most charge on a "per day" basis, and the price is not cheap usually. There are a few that will charge per GB, which can get real expensive real fast. This is something I always ask about when booking a place to stay. If the hotel doesn't offer free in-room WiFi or does not have a LAN port in the room, then I let them know I won't be staying with them. If they state they have internet in the rooms, but don't mention it's free, than I specifically ask, because if they don't say "Free WiFi", then it's pay WiFi almost every time. THIS is why I stand behind Google and Microsoft on this issue. The only hotel chains wanting permission to block personal WiFi are the ones that charge for use of their network, and usually charge exhorbantly. Imagine wanting to use your smartphone to tether to your laptop to get internet so you don't have to pay those fees, and find out your laptop can't get the signal from your phone sitting right next to it! It's robbery!  
  • Yes, and oddly enough it seems to be the pricey ones that do it much more often (and more expensively) than the cheap ones.
  • @ma7mgte I'm in the same boat. I travel frequently for work and have to rely on my hotspot because hotel wifi is so spotty most of the time.
  • I wish Microsoft would team up with Google to bring some Google apps to the WP platform. 
  • you're saying it wrong. MS is willing to team up. Google is the one that doesn't want to. So what you need to say is: "I wish google would stop being a cry baby and let microsoft cusotmers use google services on platforms other than the ones google wished they were on".
  • so about that you tube app...sorry no.
  • Fuck google
  • Why won't Microsoft team up with Google to bring Google apps to Windows Phone?
  • Thats my doubt too...
  • I'm sure MS would love to have google services on their phones. They're highly sought after apps. Google knows this, and they're the ones who won't put their apps on MS phones. It's prolly their way of preventing people switching to WP, because they won't be able to transfer much of their data easily, and they wont be able to use the services they're used to using. Blame google, not Microsoft
  • Microsoft should team up with google to bring google apps on WP.. Not for these...
  • Off topic, but hope google bring their apps to w10 with the launch of it, and hope its universal.
  • Doubtful, probably just available through the browser.  
  • This is harmful to consumers so I commend both of them for opposing it. I still hate Google though
  • I understand the hotels' point of view, but this isn't the way to go about it.
  • Who gave them rights to interfere with our property usage. Remember spectrum is unlicensed.
  • At least they agree with one thing!