Members of Congress want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Verizon’s data-throttling practices after it was revealed that the company slowed down the data of California firefighters fighting blazes in Mendocino. One fire company said its unlimited plan was throttled down to dial-up speeds after it surpassed its monthly high-speed allotment. Verizon refused to remove the speed cap until the fire company paid more money to up its plan. The fire company was in the field actively fighting one of California’s large fires at the time. Members of Congress, including Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, want to know what happened. “The FTC must investigate whether Verizon and other communications companies are being unfair or deceptive in the services they’re offering to public safety entities, and if so, to determine what remedies are appropriate to ensure our first responders have adequate service when lives are on the line.” Verizon is feeling the heat. The company has apologized, calling it a customer service matter. The company said it will adjust its policies moving forward. “We removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the west coast and in Hawaii to support current firefighting and Hurricane Lane efforts. Further, in the event of another disaster, Verizon will lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access,” said Verizon on its web site. The company plans to offer a new unlimited plan to first responders as soon as next week. The throttling first became known to the public when several fire and police departments in California sued the FCC to overturn its repeal of net neutrality. Details of the throttling were included in the lawsuit and first reported by Ars Techinca.
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