In today's new statement, Verizon apologized to the department and added it has lifted all throttling caps for those firefighters, along with the emergency departments that are now dealing with the effects of Hurricane Lane in Hawaii.
The nation's largest wireless carrier said it's lifted all speed caps for first responders on the West Coast battling wildfires, as well as for emergency workers in Hawaii, who are dealing with Hurricane Lane.
Verizon's actions have rekindled the national debate over net neutrality rules overturned by the Trump administration late previous year. Williams said the fire department upgraded its data plan with Verizon once during this period but was again throttled under the new plan upon reaching the data-use threshold. Firefighters who battle wildfires rely on live document-based apps, such as Google Docs, to update information, and the speed reduction made the communication almost impossible, said Bill Murphy, a public information officer with the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
Bowden's declaration was submitted in an addendum to a lawsuit filed by 22 states and the District of Columbia to challenge the Federal Communications Commission's decision to do away with net neutrality rules that requires internet providers to treat all traffic equally.
"It's apples and oranges", said Rudy Reyes, Verizon's assistant general counsel in the western USA region.
But Dave Hickey, Verizon's vice president of business and government sales, told lawmakers that what he called an error by the company had nothing to do with net neutrality.
"What we did was specifically put in the rule about the ability to review activities", Wheeler said. "In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us".
Before answering questions from the State Assembly's Select Committee on Natural Disaster, Response, Recovery and Rebuilding, Reyes revealed that Verizon is immediately lifting all data caps on public safety workers for unlimited data plans in four USA states, including California. "For that, we are truly sorry".
"We didn't live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence when our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire", he stated. If a severe wildfire or other disaster occurs, leaders contact their service provider and ask to purchase a temporary plan with higher data limits.
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 astatementon behalf of the fire department on Wednesday that "Verizon's throttling has everything to do with net neutrality". "And we're making every effort to ensure that it never happens again", he added. The blaze ranked second in size only to the Mendocino Complex fires, the largest in state history.
"Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services", Bowden wrote.
In that message, Stockman throttling as being when "the device that can normally act like a modern broadband internet connection is slowed to the point of acting more like an AOL dial-up modem from 1995".