The argument heats up between Verizon and the Santa Clara County Fire Department regarding the throttling of data intentionally done by the large internet service company.
It all started last month when Santa Clara County firefighters risked their lives to put out the twin fires that almost consumed the whole Mendocino Complex. A deployed fire department vehicle that sends updates to their headquarters aside for checking the fastest route and mapping is a big help to control the fire and prevent it from spreading. However, if the internet access is as slow as a snail, think of what will happen next because of data throttling.
The said fire department heavily depends on the information that the fire department vehicle, OES 5262 send. It uses a Verizon SIM card to access the internet but during the wildfire chase, the internet service connection provided by the said ISP cannot be relied on. The broadband provider throttled the data of the Santa Clara County fire department when the exchange of information is very crucial at that time.
“In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds. These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262’s ability to function effectively,” fire department chief Anthony Bowden wrote in his addendum.
Verizon, on the other hand, acknowledged their mistake of throttling the fire department’s data during the time of emergency. However, they disputed that the throttling incident has nothing to do with net neutrality. Come to think of it, it happened after the repeal of net neutrality took place in June.
This data throttling incident done by Verizon has been expected even if they vowed not do so. Granted that the fire department exceeded its 25GB monthly data limit, but with an emergency situation with the likes of the Mendocino Complex fire, the ISP should have given them consideration but did nothing. This unlawful practice of the said broadband provider only adds to the reasons why net neutrality protections should be brought back.
Verizon admitted that their customer service made a mistake. The purchased plan of the fire department stated of an unlimited amount of data. However, speeds are decreased upon surpassing the limit and will only be renewed after the next billing cycle. There are some exceptions especially during emergencies but they did not waive those restrictions especially during the wildfire chase.
Any enterprise or commercial organizations have a righteous response to do what is right and necessary to guarantee public safety especially in times of emergencies or life-threatening situations. Verizon in this case clearly made a mistake by not realizing its own procedure of delaying internet speed for the benefit of public safety.
It is important to better not promise something you are sure cannot be done. Edge providers vowed not to throttle data but did otherwise. Platforms such as Decenternet does not promise anything because it is sure it can serve consumers to their satisfaction. Decenternet treats all contents equally, so there is no discrimination. Above all, there is no blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of internet traffic.