KTXL Fox 40: Verizon removes data constraints for CA firefighters after outcry from lawmakers

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Fox 40


If you've ever used too much data on your cellphone, you may have noticed your speed slow to a crawl. It's called "throttling," and California lawmakers are calling out Verizon for doing it to first responders fighting wildfires.

Smartphones, laptops and tablets have become vital tools for firefighters to save homes and lives.

That's why California lawmakers were furious to hear a group of Santa Clara firefighters operating a communications post during the Mendocino Complex Fire had their data restricted.

"This is unforgivable. It's inexcusable," said Marc Levine, a California state assemblyman. "This was not a fire drill. This was now the largest fire in California history, and only a year after the most destructive fire in California history."

On Friday, Levine held a fact-finding hearing with the Santa Clara County Fire Department and Verizon executives.

"Most people would agree that we should never be throttling first responders," Levine said.

Verizon executives declined to answer questions from reporters after the meeting.