Verizon slowed internet speed for first responders to fire

Verizon slowed internet speed for first responders to fire

Verizon slowed internet speed for first responders to fire

Firefighters who battle wildfires rely on live document-based apps, such as Google Docs, to update information, and the speed reduction made the communication almost impossible, said Bill Murphy, a public information officer with the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

"In supporting first responders in the Mendocino fire, we didn't live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence when our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire", Mike Maiorana, senior vice president of public sector for Verizon, said in a statement. But in this case, officials have emphasized, homes and even lives were at stake.

"In light of our experience, County Fire believes it is likely that Verizon will continue to use the exigent nature of public safety emergencies and catastrophic events to coerce public agencies into higher-cost plans, ultimately paying significantly more for mission-critical service-even if that means risking harm to public safety during negotiations."

Reduced speeds, Bowden added, had "severely interfered" with the support unit's ability to function effectively and "had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services" during the sprawling Mendocino Complex Fire.

Leaders with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, which fights fires on millions of acres across the state, confirmed they haven't heard about any throttling issues either.

The fire department, Verizon said, had purchased a wireless data plan that came with a certain allotment of data for a set monthly cost.

Krekorian's motion also raised concerns about members of the general public being throttled during emergencies and said that although Verizon has changed its policies, it "doesn't reflect the complexity of an emergency situation and the needs of the pubic in a disaster: what about the thousands of people who may be turning to their phones for evacuation orders who may be similarly, artificially throttled as a result of carrier plan design who may be unable to access life-saving information about a disaster?" The company promised to lift restrictions on public safety customers and provide full network access when other disasters arise.

"What we did was specifically put in the rule about the ability to review activities", Wheeler said.

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Verizon spokesperson Heidi Flato said in a statement to USA TODAY on Wednesday that the issue is not related to net neutrality court proceedings but was a customer support error.

"It's apples and oranges", said Rudy Reyes, Verizon's assistant general counsel in the western USA region.

"In large and complex fires, resource allocation requires immediate information", he wrote.

Verizon cut data speeds to a firefighter command vehicle.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the firefighters discovered that Verizon Wirless had slowed the fire department's connection to 1/200 or less than previous speeds because the data plan limit had been exceeded.

"It's $99.99 for the first 20GB and $8/GB thereafter", the Verizon account manager replied.

However, the firm agreed 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, and the department should not have been urged to upgrade instead.

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