Verizon 'heavily throttles' Fire Department's data plan risking the public's safety

Verizon 'heavily throttles' Fire Department's data plan risking the public's safety
Yesterday, we told you that 22 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and the California Public Utilities Commission filed a suit against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The plaintiffs are asking the court to overturn the FCC's repeal of net neutrality.

In an addendum to a brief filed by the 22 attorneys general, Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote that Santa Clara Fire had its unlimited data plan throttled by Verizon. The chief noted that Verizon had slowed down the internet connection that is an "essential tool in providing fire and emergency response." Bowden added that they had paid Verizon, but the service was "heavily throttled" until they paid more money to the nation's wireless provider.

Emails that were included in the addendum show that a fire department vehicle known as OES 5262, that is "deployed to large incidents as a command and control resource" and is used to "track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed," uses a Verizon SIM card for internet connectivity. The chief said that once throttled, the data speed on OES 5262 was running at 1/200th of the regular speed. Back in June, Fire Captain Justin Stockman sent an email to Verizon, noting that download speeds for an essential device used during large disasters had been throttled from 50Mbps to about 30kbps.

Chief Bowden stated that "These reduced speeds severely interfered with OES 5262's ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes." Bowden said that Verizon representatives told the County Fire department that it would have to switch to a new monthly plan at more than twice the cost.

Verizon now admits that it shouldn't have continued to throttle County Fire's data after the department reached out to Big Red. The carrier pointed out that government contract plans, like the one purchased by the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, do offer unlimited high-speed data, but are subject to being throttled for the remainder of the month once a certain data threshold (25GB) is reached.

So how does this fit in with the repeal of net neutrality? The suit claims that once net neutrality was taken off the books, the Fire Department's service was throttled not only during times of network congestion, but all of the time. In addition, net neutrality rules included a process that allowed consumers to more easily file complaints against carriers with the FCC. With the Obama-era rules gone, getting the FCC's attention is harder to do.

source: ArsTechnica



1. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Alan, stop. Please. Your bias is just way too heavy anymore. Throttling was part of the plan long beige the repeal, this is just a way to complain about it. Yes, it's bs. But I'm sorry, this is nothing to do with net neutrality.

4. vandroid

Posts: 405; Member since: Sep 04, 2012

Then why didn't they do it before the repeal of net neutrality

5. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

They did.

6. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

It is. Because with Net Neutrality, no service gets preferential treatment. If a company needs more bandwidth, then yes they should have the right to pay for it. However, on the same token, there increase should not case a decrease for others. If an ISP of any kind, can't provide more bandwidth to one customer, without slowing down another, then they shouldn't provide it at all. Emergency Services, should not have any bandwidth cap whatsoever. In fact they should be at the top of the list for receiving the most. This is bias, its fact. if net Neutrality was in place, even if this was a problem, getting it fixed would be easier. As stated, it would have made it easier to register complaints with the FCC.

8. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

This has nothing to do with NN. Also, nothing is stopping them from registering complaints now. As evidenced by this article. Also, this stupid argument is only from people who have zero clue about scarcity and demand. Data, money, land, resources, etc. Are all scarce and if one person uses more of it, another will always loses some of it. So please stop with the ignorance. Also, vzw admitted the error. Also, think about that dumb comment. You would rather go without service than be throttled? Seriously? Nothing is better than something? I don't have words for that......

10. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Do you know what bias means? If you read the article you'd know Alan wasn't promoting NN as a solution, merely stating that Attorney Generals are.

2. Jrod99

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Well when dealing with Verizon prepare to be screwed. I told these crooks to F off long time ago. Never again and discourage my family from using them too.

3. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Right? When my family left the US, we closed our accounts with them. 2 years later, they call my father telling him that he did not close the accounts and still owes money... Lol?

7. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

I just returned to them. I know I'm gonna regret it. But I can say, the few times I had issues with VZW, they fixed them. ATT I tried them and they weren't even willing to do the same. Sprint is far worse. T-Mobile has to much confession where I live. It was so bad, I couldn't even get a data connection and needed a cell-spot in my home. I wish I could just drop all of them into the lake and let them drown. VZW may be expensive, but they are the best amongst the 4.

9. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

There is an article on The Verge where there is a lot of BS on the subject. Carriers have had throttling since before NN. It isn't clear that Verizon knew initially what the contract was being used for, nor is it clear how many users there were. The failure was in communication to get the issue resolved when it appeared.

11. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Someone that actually took the time to read. Thank you.

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