Verizon lifts all speed restrictions for first responders after throttling Calif. firefighters

Firefighters battling California's largest fire hit by crippling data slowdown slam Verizon's tactics

But in this case, the firefighters were told they needed to switch to a plan that cost more than double what they were now paying before normal data service would be restored, according to court documents filed Tuesday in an ongoing legal battle over net neutrality.

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.

"It is likely that Verizon will continue to use. public safety emergencies and catastrophic events to coerce public agencies into higher cost plans ultimately paying significantly more for mission critical service", Bowden said in the addendum.

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. "We need to make sure the safety of our communities, the courageous firefighters and all first responders are prioritized over profit for the corporation".

California Professional Firefighters threw their support Friday behind the pro-net neutrality bill in the Legislature, SB822, demanding the restoration of Obama-era regulations written by then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015, which the Trump administration-led Federal Communications Commission repealed in 2017.

As of August 13, wildfires across California had scorched more than 726,000 acres and destroyed at least 2,000 structures, Bowden said in his declaration.

Anxiety over how the absence of net neutrality rules could affect things has manifested itself in California.

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

The announcement came hours before the state Assembly's Select Committee on Natural Disaster, Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding was set to hold an informational hearing on the incident. "For that, we are truly sorry".

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.

"The idea that Verizon or another provider can opt in or opt out in helping us do what the public demands is appalling", said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County supervisor.

A Los Angeles city councilman said Friday he wants representatives of the country's major mobile data carriers to appear before the council and explain their policies on "throttling" public safety departments during emergencies.

'Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations, ' it said. He said he hoped Verizon and other providers will provide assurances this will never happen again and asked state lawmakers to "harden our infrastructure to protect cell towers" against wildfires, which assist both first responders and evacuees. It's also been central to coordinating resources deployed by the local government to the ongoing Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in California history.

OES 5262 is a command-and-control resource that has the "primary function to track, organize and prioritize" response resources during an incident using specialized software and Google Sheets by leveraging leverages cloud computing via broadband Internet connectivity.

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