IT40 News for 08/22/2018

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#9 Verizon throttled California fire department during wildfire crisis

As wildfires raged in California this summer, one fire department’s response was impeded by an unexpected problem: data throttling.

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In documents filed this week as part of a legal challenge to the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, Santa Clara County Fire Marshal Anthony Bowden explains how Verizon slowed device speeds during the crisis, hindering firefighters’ response. 

In the documents, flagged by Ars Technica, Bowden writes that the fire department had purchased an unlimited data plan from Verizon for a support unit’s connection, but the company started throttling speeds “to 1/200, or less” after the unit hit 25GB of use.

Bowden writes that the resulting throttling from Verizon “had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services,” as responders were unable to properly track and route firefighting resources. The company continued to slow data speeds even after being informed it was “actively impeding” responders’ ability to fight the blazes, Bowden writes. Ultimately, the fire department had to sign up for a new, more expensive plan before speeds were restored.

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