Earlier this week it was revealed that Verizon throttled emergency firefighters’ data connections while they battled the Mendocino, California wildfire. Today, Verizon says it’ll ensure “that it never happens again.” The company says it has since removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the West Coast and in Hawaii, with the plan to continue doing so during future disasters. Verizon will also launch a new service plan next week that’ll cater to first responders and will feature unlimited data with no caps on mobile solutions. That plan will include priority access.
This time around, Verizon required the California firefighters to upgrade their plan before receiving better access. Documents filed as part of a legal challenge to the FCC’s net neutrality repeal exposed the situation this week. The firefighters had an unlimited plan, but had their speeds throttled to “1/200 or less” after reaching 25GB of use.
Santa Clara County Fire Marshal Anthony Bowden wrote that this “had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services.” It’s great Verizon is trying to make up for this serious mistake, but at the same time, it feels a little forced. The company seemed totally fine to keep forcing emergency responders to fork over cash while they attempted to save lives, at least until the press started covering it.