Verizon throttled fire department2018-08-22 18:47 by Daniela
Santa Clara County firefighters faced poor internet service while they fighted the massive Mendocino Complex fire in July after Verizon slowed the speed of their wireless data, the county's fire chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a federal court filing this week.
The fire department paid for an unlimited plan from Verizon but suffered heavy throttling until it agreed to pay for another plan, twice more expensive. The throttling affected "OES 5262," a command and control vehicle that helps track and deploy firefighter resources around the state and country where there's the greatest need, Bowden said.
"This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services," Bowden wrote. "Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services."
Verizon Wireless says a customer service error - not net neutrality - was responsible for the continued throttling of the wireless data service of the fire department vehicle:
"Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations. We have done that many times, including for emergency personnel responding to these tragic fires. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us. This was a customer support mistake."
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