Verizon slowed our data as we fought massive wildfire, chief says

Firefighters light a backfire while battling the Mendocino Complex Fire near Potter Valley Calif. on Aug. 9

Chief Bowden's complaint dealt with the process of filing complaints with the FCC, which became harder with the lifting of net neutrality rules.

As California firefighters battled the largest fire in the state's history, Verizon slowed wireless data speeds to a crawl, making it nearly impossible for emergency personnel to use some of its high-tech tracking equipment.

The above reports have been compiled and submitted as addendum evidence in a lawsuit filed by 22 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Ars Technica details the email back-and-forth-starting in late June and continuing as the Mendocino Complex Fire raged on-between Verizon and fire officials, including one in which a fire IT officer begs, "Please work with us".

But Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams - representing the county's fire department - countered in a press release Wednesday, saying, "Verizon's throttling has everything to do with net neutrality". In a statement to the Verge, Verizon says the throttling had "nothing to do with net neutrality;" it was a "customer support mistake".

The Santa Clara County Fire Department says Verizon slowed its internet communications at a wildfire command center three weeks ago, crippling the emergency communications truck's data speeds and forcing firefighters to use other agencies' internet connections and their personal cellphones. As a result, we're introducing a new plan that will feature unlimited data, with no caps on mobile solutions and automatically includes priority access.

Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden called unlimited data flow "critical to public safety" but said public agencies do not have unlimited funds and try to find an affordable plan that will meet their needs.

More news: Here's what else the Trump administration did this summer

Verizon Wireless on Friday said it will immediately stop imposing data speed restrictions on first responders throughout the West Coast and Hawaii after facing intense criticism for reducing service to firefighters battling California's largest-ever wildfire. We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward, ' the statement added.

"It really truly is meant for the rigors of first responders and how we need it", he said.

The new rules allow companies to limit access to customers who have reached certain data limits.

Multiple members of Congress, including Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, wrote a letter Friday to the Federal Trade Commission demanding an investigation into Verizon's data-throttling of emergency workers.

Limon referenced the Thomas Fire, which burned over 280,000 acres in her district in December 2017. "And we're making every effort to ensure that it never happens again", he added.

Verizon blamed a communication error and acknowledged the fire department's normal service should have been restored more quickly than it was. The blaze ranked second in size only to the Mendocino Complex fires, the largest in state history.

When the fire department called Verizon to tell them they were in the middle of dealing with a public emergency and safety issue, a customer service representative told them they should upgrade to a more expensive plan. Further, in the event of another disaster, Verizon will lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access.

Related News:

Most liked

Martin Keown sends message to Arsenal fans about Unai Emery
The Frenchman then impressed as Arsenal went on to win the game 3-1 and secure their first win under the tutelage of Unai Emery . Substitute Danny Welbeck sealed the victory in stoppage time , when Bellerin found him unmarked in the area.

Hurricane Lane unleashes flooding and landslides as it gets closer to Hawaii
Thousands were left without power after torrential downpour dumped 35 inches of rain across Big Island in just 48 hours. United Airlines said it had canceled all Friday flights to and from Kahului airport on Maui, the second-largest island.

Salah sends Liverpool top, Man City held by Wolves
Only three games into the season, Rui Patricio has staked a pretty good claim to save of the season. We don't have to prove nothing to nobody.

Dead In Madden Tournament Shooting In Jacksonville, Florida
Sheriff Mike Williams provided additional details hours after a gunman opened fire at a Jacksonville , Florida , mall on Sunday. The incident occurred at a Downtown Entertainment Complex, were there was a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament going on.

Hazard ready to start for Chelsea - Sarri
He said: "I feel like I'm good enough and last weekend I felt like I could have had a chance, so it was a bit disappointing". On Reuben Loftus-Cheek's future Sarri said: "I chose to put two wingers and only one midfielder on the bench".

Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool star Alisson's performance
Chelsea and Watford also boast a 100% record but have played one game fewer than Liverpool . I expect a lot from the boys, I'm pretty demanding but I know we can improve.

Israel, US Work Jointly to Crack Down on Iran
Before leaving for North Korea, Lee said she wanted to ask her son "how he grew up without his mom and how his father raised him". South Korea wants reunions to take place regularly, but North Korea often uses them as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

His former associates in court, Trump focuses on ‘winning’
For his part, Ellis said he was inclined to question jurors one-by-one about their ability to decide the case fairly. Cohen was also involved in an agreement to pay McDougal to remain quiet about her own affair with Trump.

Trump says his White House counsel not a 'rat' like Nixon's
In a tweet Sunday, Trump also contrasted McGahn with John Dean, the White House counsel for Nixon during the Watergate scandal. The president also continued to accuse Democrats of collusion and wondered why Mueller wasn't investigating them.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 India Launch Today
The Galaxy Note 9 comes with a stylus supporting Bluetooth technology, which enables users to take photos from a distance. The new price is reflected on the Amazon India website as well as the official Samsung e-store.

No Record Cristhian Bahena Rivera Has Legal Status
Police say Bahena-Rivera left Tibbetts' body in a cornfield, placing corn stalks over her to hide her death. Rivera - who had been living in the area for about four years - later confessed to murdering Tibbetts.

Melania Trump traveling solo to Africa later this year
During a conference, First Lady Melania Trump talked about cyberbullying, bringing awareness to it but people are not impressed. Let's face it, it's probably safe to say he's the biggest cyber bully who ever lived.

Redskins sign former Vikings star Adrian Peterson
The news comes just one day after reports surfaced that the seven-time Pro Bowler was working out with the team Monday. Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best? #Redskins are signing RB Adrian Peterson , sources tell me and @RapSheet .

Trump says "disgraced" Robert Mueller is "looking for trouble" in Russian Federation probe
McGahn cooperated in a way that could hurt Donald Trump in order to protect himself and because he doesn't trust the President. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and has repeatedly attacked the probe as illegitimate.

Paul Finebaum explains why Urban Meyer is likely safe at Ohio State
And there's time pressure, we wanted to make sure we have that information as quickly as possible-about two weeks. Ryan Day is serving as acting head coach in Meyer's absence.