Verizon's new promotional video is supposed to show how Verizon is there for local fire departments. Talking about the importance of having a carrier you can trust, Fire Captain Martin Mullen says, "No matter how much we train, the last thing you want in a disaster is to lose communications. Without communications, people get hurt." Really Verizon? Aren't you the same carrier that throttled a Santa Clara Fire Department vehicle during the California wildfires, demanding that the department sign up for a more expensive plan in order to resume service?
This first responder account was being used to provide internet service to a fire department vehicle. During major fires, this truck will "track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed." The fire department had exceeded its wireless data cap, and the data speed on the vehicle dropped from 50Mbps to about 30Kbps. Ouch.
Later in the ad, Verizon's Chief Network Officer Nicki Palmer states, "When disaster strikes, that is when your communication service can really be your lifeline." Unless it is so heavily throttled that your communications service is useless. In August, Verizon said that it would soon unveil a new plan for first responders that will include unlimited data, no data caps and priority access. We are still awaiting the introduction of this new plan.
Verizon, you cannot take a hard stance with a first responder account and then pat yourself on the back for providing wireless service to fire departments. The optics are not good.