Verizon’s Fire Department Data Throttling Could Kindle FTC Investigation

In Decenternet, News

The fire that Verizon started regarding its data throttling of the Santa Clara County fire department would take time to douse.

In the wake of net neutrality battle between adversaries and advocates, some incidents need to be considered. One may say that the fire that sparked in the Mendocino Complex that turned into a wildfire is a coincidence during the heated debate about the passage of SB 822. However, was the throttling incident of Verizon can be considered a coincidence as well when in fact the repeal of net neutrality started in June?

The latest case of data throttling could put Verizon on the hot seat. It could spark an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission since the Federal Communications Commission gave them the authority to govern telephone companies. There are already 13 Democratic members of Congress that urged the FTC on Friday to probe the said big telecom company. Democrat Rep. Anna Eshoo and fellows sent a letter to FTC
Chairman Joseph Simons.

The written letter says, “We believe the Federal Communications Commission, as the expert regulatory agency, should be responsible for the oversight of public safety networks and communications networks as a whole. Unfortunately, with its repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order, the FCC has abdicated its jurisdiction over broadband communications and walked away from protecting consumers, including public safety agencies. We, therefore, call on the FTC to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices stemming from this incident.”

It could be that FTC does not impose any rules regarding throttling. However, the agency can file a case against these communication companies that provide customers misleading information about the agreements of their service. The Democrats added that it is intolerable for these telecom companies to play away with their customers.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi along with other Democrat representatives including Mike Thompson,  Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, Mark DeSaulnier,  Jared Huffman, Zoe Lofgren, Ro Khanna, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Jimmy Panetta, Jackie Speier, last but not the least, Anna Eshoo.

Verizon claimed that it is a customer service error and made an aberration on how they conveyed to their customers the terms of its plan. The telecom company added that it disregarded to comply with its own policy of eliminating data speed stipulations when approached during an emergency situation.

The telecom company is remorseful during the Friday hearing (Aug. 24) held by the California state legislature. At the same time, Verizon informed that it stopped the throttling of data for the fire department at the moment including other first responders located on the West Coast and Hawaii. Soon it will launch a new unlimited plan that has no caps and includes urgency access for primary responders like firefighters.

An open internet was created for everyone and not just for those who can afford it. Its protection should cover consumers from the procedures of telecommunication and broadband providers considered to be self-centered and anti-consumer.

Consumers can still take advantage of the net neutrality protections in the Decenternet platform. It does not discriminate contents giving Internet users the freedom to communicate freely online besides providing them unrestricted access to the decentralized and centralized network.

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