Verizon Admits To Throttling Firefighters' Data During Mendocino Fire

Verizon says the throttling was due to a mistake in communication. The firefighters blame the FCC's repeal of net neutrality.
Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 22, 2018

Verizon says it drastically lowered the data speeds of a fire department coordinating the response to California's Mendocino Complex Fire.

The company says it was a mistake in communication that led to the throttling. In a statement, Verizon clarified it typically lifts data caps in emergency situations. 

Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District Chief Anthony Bowden accused the company of capping its data speeds as part of a lawsuit that aims to preserve net neutrality rules.

In the suit, Bowden alleges Verizon reduced speeds to 1/200th the normal rate, hamstringing his department's efforts against the largest fire in state history.

Emails included in court documents show when department officials asked Verizon for a solution, its customer support representative suggested they buy a more expensive plan. 

Verizon maintains the throttling had nothing to do with net neutrality and was an error. 

A department official told Ars Technica in response that it had "everything to do with net neutrality."