Verizon Promises To Stop Throttling First Responders 08/27/2018

Utah firefighter Mathew Burchett. Burchett died Aug. 13 while fighting the Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco

Nonetheless, Verizon said full-service should have been immediately restored to the county when fire department authorities told a customer service representative it was responding to a public emergency.

Unlike that plan, the new unlimited plan being developed by Verizon for first-responders will not restrict speeds "on mobile solutions" no matter how much data is used and "automatically includes priority access".

Verizon acknowledged that it wrongly limited data speed to the Santa Clara County Fire Department after the county reached its monthly data capacity under its internet plan.

"In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds". But in this case, the firefighters were told they needed to switch to a plan that cost more than double what they were now paying before normal data service would be restored, according to court documents filed Tuesday in an ongoing legal battle over net neutrality. Instead, the telecom company blamed "a mistake in how we communicated with our customer about the terms of its plan".

Verizon said it often eases its policies in emergency situations. "This was a customer support mistake", the statement said. We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward, ' the statement added.

The announcement came hours before the state Assembly's Select Committee on Natural Disaster, Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding was set to hold an informational hearing on the incident.

According to Capt. Bill Murphy, the slowed service, which happened several weeks ago as firefighters battled the Mendocino County fire, affected email and the updating of documents that dealt with deployment.

Verizon will also work closely with mission critical first responders to refine its service plan to better meet unique needs, it said.

Hard to see, hard to breathe: US West struggles with smoke
Those who typically walk or jog to work are advised to consider taking a bus or Skytrain instead until the air quality improves. Wednesday. "It may be short-lived, but we expect at least a couple days of cleaner air coming up", a multiagency update said.

The county disclosed the problem last week in a lawsuit brought by 22 state attorneys general seeking to restore net neutrality rules repealed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Santa Clara County Central firefighters saw their internet data flow slow down dramatically.

Legislators sent a letter to the CEO of Verizon this afternoon calling for answers and assurances that the safety of first responders, and communities that are threatened by these massive blazes, will not be put in jeopardy so the company can pad their bank accounts.

The Mendocino fire which began on July 27 has consumed almost 407,000 acres, or roughly half the size of Rhode Island, and as of Wednesday it was 74 per cent contained.

After the second throttling experience at the Pawnee Fire in June 2018, the department upgraded to a slightly more expensive plan.

State legislators are asking for a response from the Verizon CEO on a series of questions including, how many times, where and when, they have throttled the data technology of first responders during disasters. Verizon customers have access to our more than 450,000-square mile 4G LTE coverage advantage over competitors.

Some say the issue highlights concerns of net-neutrality supporters, that allowing companies to manipulate their networks can have adverse, unexpected consequences.

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