California Fire Dept Says Verizon Throttling During Deadly Wildfire 'Has Everything to Do With Net Neutrality'

September 18, 2020 0 By HearthstoneYarns

As California lawmakers prepared on Wednesday for a key committee vote on their state’s net neutrality bill—which, in its current form, would restore the protections repealed by the FCC in December—the Santa Clara County Fire Department accused the telecom giant Verizon of dramatically cutting its data speed as it recently fought the largest recorded wildfire in California’s history.

“Verizon representatives confirmed the throttling, but rather than restoring us to an essential data transfer speed, they indicated that County Fire would have to switch to a new data plan at more than twice the cost.”
—Anthony Bowden, Santa Clara County Fire Chief

After Verizon admitted that it slowed the fire department’s data—a despised practice known as throttling—but claimed it was a simple mistake that “has nothing to do with net neutrality,” Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams responded in a statement on behalf of the fire department on Wednesday that “Verizon’s throttling has everything to do with net neutrality.”

“It shows that the [internet service providers] will act in their economic interests, even at the expense of public safety,” Williams added. “That is exactly what the Trump administration’s repeal of net neutrality allows and encourages.”

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