Verizon lifts data speed caps for first responders (UPDATE)

Verizon lifts data speed caps for first responders (UPDATE)
A couple of days ago, we told you that Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote an addendum that was attached to a suit filed with the U.S. appeals court. The subject of the suit was a request from 22 state attorneys general and the attorney general for the District of Columbia to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality. Chief Bowden's complaint dealt with the process of filing complaints with the FCC, which became harder with the lifting of net neutrality rules.

But as it turned out, what the chief had to complain about received much more publicity than the suit itself. Apparently, Verizon had throttled the unlimited data plan belonging to Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and in particular, one essential fire fighting vehicle. This truck uses a Verizon SIM card for internet service and found this connectivity throttled from peaks of 50Mbps to 30kbps in the middle of fighting the wildfires in the region.

UPDATE: Members of Congress, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have written a letter to the FTC demanding an investigation into Verizon's throttling of the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District. The letter asks whether Verizon's actions could be considered "unfair or deceptive" based on Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Today, Verizon announced that it will lift all speed caps for first responders on the West Coast battling wildfires, and for those emergency workers in Hawaii who are dealing with Hurricane Lane. The nation's largest carrier said that it will continue to waive the data cap for public safety customers battling any future disaster. It also said that next week, it will unveil a new plan for first responders that will include unlimited data, no caps, and priority access. The carrier said that it will allow mission critical first responders to easily upgrade to this new plan at no additional cost.


source: Verizon

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20 Comments

1. tedkord

Posts: 17482; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Good move.

4. vandroid

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

They shouldn't have throttled it in the first place

10. Phullofphil

Posts: 1832; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

No they should not. This whole bandwidth thing is a joke. Another way to squeeze money out of you.

12. lyndon420

Posts: 6897; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

First responders get a break... wonderful. But how about those in need of being rescued??

13. tedkord

Posts: 17482; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And how are Verizon supposed to know who is in need of being rescued? I'm sure that 911 calls are never blocked.

16. tuminatr

Posts: 1169; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

911 Goes to the best available signal regardless of who your service provider is

17. tuminatr

Posts: 1169; Member since: Feb 23, 2009

Its interesting because government account are typically prioritized differently than consumer accounts. I bet there is more to this story like what is being reported is a firefighters personal account being throttled, Personally i believe we don't have all the facts

2. kozza3

Posts: 778; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

Finally a positive outcome from some viral news

3. p51d007

Posts: 705; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Wonder if Verizon has PIE on it's face?

5. 2LiveStu

Posts: 8; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

Common sense would tell them NOT to do this in the first place so they wouldn't have this bad press come out afterwards.

6. ibap

Posts: 871; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

I am not a Verizon fan, but - note that this has nothing directly to do with net neutrality, except for the part about making it harder to figure out who to complain about. Cell carriers often have throttling on high-usage data plans, and that is nothing new. It is also not clear, in all the coverage of this story, that Verizon had any prior knowledge that this account was used in emergency situations. The real screw-up was in bad communication once they knew that. Even if an account is being billed to a potential first responder organization, it might belong to someone doing school liaison or something like that. Is there a process in place for actually identifying what accounts should have free reign? I doubt there was, though there may be now.

7. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

But, but, but..... The government should fix everything and NN was the answer to all that ails us.......

8. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1348; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Net neutrality is intended to solve entirely different problems than being throttled once you surpass a data allotment.

9. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I'm pretty sure that was his point..... I guess I should have included a /s at the end. However, NN doesn't solve any problems, it just creates them. For example, if netflix wants to pay for my usage when streaming their content, they should be allowed to do that. There should also be prioritization, exactly in the instance above. However, NN would have prevented that ability. The government can't do anything properly, so stop trying to give them more power.

11. AxelFoley unregistered

You're right. The government should just stay out of everything. I mean, why should the government be involved in the internet they invented? Roads, water, electricity should all be privatized. Heck, why is this county government fighting fires with federal funds anyway. Each homeowner should have their own fire extinguisher.

19. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Electricity is privatized, you idiot. Additionally, many fire departments are "opt-in" based, meaning you get a say in whether you pay for the service. Finally, this "government" was created on freedom of choice, but idiots like you want to take all that away and just force us to fork over 50% or more of our income for your own special interests. Sorry pal, I'll go to my grave before I let more morons like you run the show.

15. tedkord

Posts: 17482; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Netflix shouldn't have to pay, they already pay for backend, and i pay for internet access. Netflix bits and bytes aren't more difficult to transmit than any others. It gives internet providers, who are also content providers that days, the ability to hamper competition and control what consumers stream. Just because we've got an incompetent running the government right now doesn't mean government can't do anything right. The land line telephone industry is proof they can. They broke up the monopoly, regulated the industry, and service improved as prices dropped. Net neutrality was a win for consumers. It's repeal was a win for special interests.

18. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

You completely missed my point. I wasn't saying that netflix should pay more on the backend, I was saying that if netflix, FB or whomever, wants to pay for your usage, they should be allowed to. NN prevented that. Meaning, that you had to pay for your own data, period. Things like NN would have made even the old "netzero" illegal.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17482; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

No one said any such thing, but thanks for the useless hyperbole. Now tell us how allowing two grown men to marry will lead to men marrying German Shepards. Net neutrality was a good thing for consumers, because in this day and age internet providers are also the content providers. Comcast is NBC. And they can push you toward their content by either slowing competitors or blocking them or making consumers pay a fee to access them. Want to cut the cord, and get all your viewing from Netflix - sure, but that'll cost extra.

20. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

What the h377 are you talking about? What does marriage have to do with any of this? Breathe slowly and take a timeout, Obi-slow-konobi.

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