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Verizon Accused of throttling fire department internet

Santa Clara County firefighters were critically hindered by slow internet service during the massive Mendocino Complex fire in July after Verizon slowed the speed of their wireless data, the county’s fire chief wrote.

While the agency believed it had paid for an unlimited data plan, the Santa Clara County Fire Department discovered its data connection had been slowed down by well over 98% as it fought the blaze. Verizon Wireless representatives told the department it had exceeded its plan limit for data and suggested the agency purchase a plan at more than double the cost, according to court documents.

Verizon said, “This customer purchased a government contract plan for a high-speed wireless data allotment at a set monthly cost.  Under this plan, users get an unlimited amount of data but speeds are reduced when they exceed their allotment until the next billing cycle.  Verizon wrote that the company has a practice to remove data speed restrictions for emergency responders regardless of the plan they have chosen in emergency situations. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us.  We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward.

Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “the situation undercuts the argument that net neutrality rules hindered emergency services by not allowing internet service providers to prioritize their data.  They’ve often said if we’re allowed to throttle some and not others then we can give better service to emergency responders. We’re seeing here that’s not true.  It wasn’t net neutrality that prevented them from doing it. It’s clearly their own policies.”

Unlimited with a throttle is not the same as Unlimited Throttled!  Learn the easy way and pay for a good data plan.

Works Cited

Fry, H. (2018, August 22). Verizon ‘throttled’ critical internet service during wildfire battle, fire chief says. Retrieved August 23, 2018, from

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