Another Problem with the End of Net Neutrality.. Inability of FCC to act against ISPs

Even though the Fire Department had an unlimited plan, Verizon actually Throttled their data while they were battling a fire and preventing firefighters from communication with one another threatening their lives and the lives of others in the process. When the FCC removed Net Neutrality, they also removed their ability to act against ISP's for throttling data claiming the FTC could handle it, when in fact, they cannot. That creates a very dangerous situation when the FCC can no longer go after ISP's for trying to extort money out of fire fighters while they are busy trying to not die while saving lives.

Those asserting this has nothing to do with Net neutrality are incorrect, it actually does as according to the FTC, they are not capable of doing what the FCC stated they were and that with the removal of Net Neutrality, it also removed their ability to do anything about data throttling, even in an emergency:

The 2015 Open Internet Order-overturned by the FCC's Republican majority last winter-reclassified internet providers like Verizon as common carriers under Title II of the Federal Communications Act, granting the FCC regulatory authority that, in this instance, would have allowed the commission to investigate and potential penalize Verizon for its decision.

At Chairman Ajit Pai's direction, the commission abdicated that authority this year. It no longer has the power to establish rules prohibiting Verizon from throttling emergency services, or charging police and fire departments additional fees to maintain their communications at optimal speeds when usage peaks-say, during a wildfire, or an earthquake, or a mass shooting.

"The FCC has incorrectly suggested that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could sufficiently fill this void," wrote Markey and Eschoo, whose congressional districting includes portions of Santa Clara. "We strongly disagree with that assertion."

The FTC can only do something after the fact and nothing more. Meaning, in a literal sense, after the fire. And then if this came up again in another state, the FTC would have to wait until after the fire burned there. Notably, the FTC can't ban throttling and upselling during an emergency.

The Santa Clara County fire chief, Anthony Bowden, declared last week that Verizon's decision to throttle the communications of firefighters at a crucial command center during one of the state's largest wildfires had a "significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services."

Bowden said that Verizon, whom the country fire department had paid for "unlimited data," hobbled the first responders' ability to communicate "despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services."

In a letter Friday, Senator Edward Markey and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo demanded answers from the FCC over what steps it is currently taking to address "critical threats to public safety," citing its decision to repeal Obama-era net neutrality protections.

https://gizmodo.com/fcc-criticized-for-surrendering-power-to-punish-verizon-1828753397

The fire Department is now joining the the Net Neutrality Lawsuit due to data throttling:

A California fire department that's repeatedly had its mobile data speeds throttled by Verizon while responding to wildfires, rendering devices virtually unusable, has submitted its experience as evidence in support of a lawsuit to restore net neutrality at the federal level.

Santa Clara County Fire Department Chief Anthony Bowden made the declaration in an addendum filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals Monday that Verizon has restricted mobile data speeds on an "unlimited" device in an emergency response vehicle on at least three occasions since 2017, apparently pledging after every incident it wouldn't do so again.

The department relies on the device to "track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed," Bowden said. The device typically uses between 5 and 10 gigabytes a day during emergencies.

Once data exceeds 25G of use within a month, however, Verizon slows transfer rates to 0.5 percent of the normal speed, frantic emails between the fire department and Verizon show. (Verizon owns HuffPost's parent company, Oath.)

This happened most recently amid SCCFD's response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, a 410,000-acre, still-burning blaze that's the largest in California history.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fire-department-verizon-data-throttled-net-neutrality_us_5b7d7346e4b0348585fc755c

Capitalism in its' most definitive nature. And yet too many people blindly trust that it gives a single shit about them. That it wouldn't happily facilitate the privatisation of these fire services for any hint of more gain at the cost of however many lives necessary.

On the bright side, California passed very strong Net Neutrality laws:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/31/17805892/california-sb822-net-neutrality-law-vote

...Unless this is not a bright side?

Samtemdo8:
On the bright side, California passed very strong Net Neutrality laws:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/31/17805892/california-sb822-net-neutrality-law-vote

...Unless this is not a bright side?

Not a bright side for anyone not residing in California in the US. Now if they can just get it passed in all of the US, it will be great, but trying to get Corporate owned states on board will be near impossible.

Lil devils x:

Samtemdo8:
On the bright side, California passed very strong Net Neutrality laws:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/31/17805892/california-sb822-net-neutrality-law-vote

...Unless this is not a bright side?

Not a bright side for anyone not residing in California in the US. Now if they can just get it passed in all of the US, it will be great, but trying to get Corporate owned states on board will be near impossible.

I'd say its bright side in the sense that it sets a precedent that not every state will abide the elimination of Net Neutrality.

Like in a radical scenario people will be moving from one state to another completely.

Samtemdo8:

I'd say its bright side in the sense that it sets a precedent that not every state will abide the elimination of Net Neutrality.

Like in a radical scenario people will be moving from one state to another completely.

You are assuming people will act with their heads, with the best intentions at heart.

This has rarely been the case. California is liberal as all hell. So they will act in somewhat of a moral standard if only to give the image that they are more concerned with people's lives than others.

But what about deeply red states? Like Tennessee? A state that had no problem letting a house burn down because the owner didn't pay the $75 firefighting fee ahead of time. Nor would accept the money when he offered to pay on the spot. Firefighters did show up, but only to put out the fire on the neighboring property when the fire spread.

As much as I care about human life as a concept, I know that the majority of people are bastards. Even while fighting to protect them, I expect and accept that crap that will usually come from all walks of life... and for them to strive to fight against their OWN best interests.

Someone will just label what California is doing as socialist, and people will join the cable companies in fighting to make sure those companies have the right to screw over the individuals joined with them to fight the 'evils of socialism'.

To which, a sane person would have to start to ask simple questions. Like, if Socialism is so evil, how come every time that they try to fight against said evil and then the common folks against socialism 'win' a victory against the concept... why does it seem that they come away with less or give a faceless entity more power over them?

ObsidianJones:
But what about deeply red states? Like Tennessee? A state that had no problem letting a house burn down because the owner didn't pay the $75 firefighting fee ahead of time. Nor would accept the money when he offered to pay on the spot. Firefighters did show up, but only to put out the fire on the neighboring property when the fire spread.

That is one of the most insane things I've heard in a while. Not only is it cruel in the extreme, it also endangers everything around the property that is on fire. That's how fire works. Those firefighters ought to be embarrassed. The higher ups and politicians who set up that scheme ought to be in prison.

Pseudonym:

ObsidianJones:
But what about deeply red states? Like Tennessee? A state that had no problem letting a house burn down because the owner didn't pay the $75 firefighting fee ahead of time. Nor would accept the money when he offered to pay on the spot. Firefighters did show up, but only to put out the fire on the neighboring property when the fire spread.

That is one of the most insane things I've heard in a while. Not only is it cruel in the extreme, it also endangers everything around the property that is on fire. That's how fire works. Those firefighters ought to be embarrassed. The higher ups and politicians who set up that scheme ought to be in prison.

As a human being and someone with morals, I couldn't be more behind you. These people are disgusting, and if they can ever sleep well at night since that day, it's just further proof that they aren't human.

As a person who knows that the laws were penned and will be interpreted under a capitalistic mindset... Why should they be? It was a transaction that they didn't take part of. Even basic health and safety as a monetary transaction to some people.

The 'pure capitalistic' society that the Right Wing fight so hard for would charge us for Air if they could a global patent to do so. I have no idea how common people can fight for a system they know truly doesn't care about them, but this is the world we live in.

ObsidianJones:

Pseudonym:

ObsidianJones:
But what about deeply red states? Like Tennessee? A state that had no problem letting a house burn down because the owner didn't pay the $75 firefighting fee ahead of time. Nor would accept the money when he offered to pay on the spot. Firefighters did show up, but only to put out the fire on the neighboring property when the fire spread.

That is one of the most insane things I've heard in a while. Not only is it cruel in the extreme, it also endangers everything around the property that is on fire. That's how fire works. Those firefighters ought to be embarrassed. The higher ups and politicians who set up that scheme ought to be in prison.

As a human being and someone with morals, I couldn't be more behind you. These people are disgusting, and if they can ever sleep well at night since that day, it's just further proof that they aren't human.

As a person who knows that the laws were penned and will be interpreted under a capitalistic mindset... Why should they be? It was a transaction that they didn't take part of. Even basic health and safety as a monetary transaction to some people.

The 'pure capitalistic' society that the Right Wing fight so hard for would charge us for Air if they could a global patent to do so. I have no idea how common people can fight for a system they know truly doesn't care about them, but this is the world we live in.

Except when those capitalists start endorsing left-wing politicians.

Republicans are pure hypocrites.

Saelune:

ObsidianJones:

Pseudonym:

That is one of the most insane things I've heard in a while. Not only is it cruel in the extreme, it also endangers everything around the property that is on fire. That's how fire works. Those firefighters ought to be embarrassed. The higher ups and politicians who set up that scheme ought to be in prison.

As a human being and someone with morals, I couldn't be more behind you. These people are disgusting, and if they can ever sleep well at night since that day, it's just further proof that they aren't human.

As a person who knows that the laws were penned and will be interpreted under a capitalistic mindset... Why should they be? It was a transaction that they didn't take part of. Even basic health and safety as a monetary transaction to some people.

The 'pure capitalistic' society that the Right Wing fight so hard for would charge us for Air if they could a global patent to do so. I have no idea how common people can fight for a system they know truly doesn't care about them, but this is the world we live in.

Except when those capitalists start endorsing left-wing politicians.

Republicans are pure hypocrites.

Did somebody say Hypocrisy in the USA?!

Everything this commercial told me is a lie!

ObsidianJones:

As a human being and someone with morals, I couldn't be more behind you. These people are disgusting, and if they can ever sleep well at night since that day, it's just further proof that they aren't human.

As a person who knows that the laws were penned and will be interpreted under a capitalistic mindset... Why should they be? It was a transaction that they didn't take part of. Even basic health and safety as a monetary transaction to some people.

The 'pure capitalistic' society that the Right Wing fight so hard for would charge us for Air if they could a global patent to do so. I have no idea how common people can fight for a system they know truly doesn't care about them, but this is the world we live in.

And the sad thing about that air patent would be that we would be told that it would be a grave infringement of the rights of its owners not to pay their fee.

Pseudonym:

ObsidianJones:

As a human being and someone with morals, I couldn't be more behind you. These people are disgusting, and if they can ever sleep well at night since that day, it's just further proof that they aren't human.

As a person who knows that the laws were penned and will be interpreted under a capitalistic mindset... Why should they be? It was a transaction that they didn't take part of. Even basic health and safety as a monetary transaction to some people.

The 'pure capitalistic' society that the Right Wing fight so hard for would charge us for Air if they could a global patent to do so. I have no idea how common people can fight for a system they know truly doesn't care about them, but this is the world we live in.

And the sad thing about that air patent would be that we would be told that it would be a grave infringement of the rights of its owners not to pay their fee.

Ah, Monsanto. Never change.

This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

Elijin:
This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

According to what I read, the fire Department was supposed to have an unlimited plan without throttling but Verizon did not have one available to provide them with at the time they negotiated the contract even though that is what they were supposed to be giving due to them being an emergency service as they had expressed to Verizon at the time.

According to Verizon, Verizon mucked it up:

Update: In a statement to Ars three hours after this article was published, Verizon acknowledged that it shouldn't have continued throttling the fire department's data service after the department asked Verizon to lift the throttling restrictions.

"Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations," Verizon's statement said. "We have done that many times, including for emergency personnel responding to these tragic fires. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us. This was a customer support mistake. We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward."

Verizon also noted that the fire department purchased a data service plan that is slowed down after a data usage threshold is reached. But Verizon said it "made a mistake" in communicating with the department about the terms of the plan.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/verizon-throttled-fire-departments-unlimited-data-during-calif-wildfire/

Of course, under no circumstance should the fire department be required to call Verizon and tell them they are having an emergency and wait for them to lift it in the first place, since of course this is the FIRE DEPARTMENT and it is always an emergency and it wastes valuable time and resources delaying their emergency services to have to do that at all. That should never be considered a legal or acceptable action in the first place. The very idea that Verizon would ever think the fire department or any other emergency service should have to tell them it is an emergency is part of the problem here to begin with.

The reason WHY net neutrality is important here is the FCC removed it's ability to act to make it illegal for ISP's to throttle emergency services at all, when it removed Net neutrality, the FTC is not capable of doing so according to the FTC. That is why they are suing the FCC currently over the issue. If the FCC had retained it's authority to regulate ISP's throttling, they would have been able to prevent this from happening in the first place. It should be illegal for Verizon to be able to throttle emergency services, ever, even if they do not express that is an emergency since it is ALWAYS an emergency in regards to emergency services. In addition, the FCC ALSO limited their ability to sue the ISP for throttling as well when they removed Net Neutrality:

Santa Clara could have complained to the FCC under the now-removed net neutrality system, which allowed Internet users to file complaints about any unjust or unreasonable prices and practices. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's decision to deregulate the broadband industry eliminated that complaint option and also limited consumers' rights to sue Internet providers over unjust or unreasonable behavior.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/verizon-throttled-fire-departments-unlimited-data-during-calif-wildfire/

I wasn't aware the stories I shared here said anything about Verizon attempting to strike in an unregulated market, as far as I see, you are the only one who said that here. What IS the issue however, it the FCC's ability to regulate ISP's for throttling at all since the FTC has already stated they are not capable of creating rules to address ISP's, that only the FCC is capable of doing that.

The only thing the FTC can do is address an issue after the fact on an individual basis, but not create permanent rules that would apply to prevent the next ISP or even the same ISP from doing so for the next fire, robbery, terrorist attack or hurricane. Due to the repeal of Net Neutrality, no one can create rules that apply to all emergency services to prevent them from doing so ahead of time, so it can happen over and over again. This is allowing people to be in harms way since there is no longer any agency with the authority to set regulations for them to adhere to in regards to ISP throttling.

In Addition, Fire Departments are paid for via taxes, in order for the fire department to receive more funding to pay for high costs services they would need to increase taxes to do so. Depending on where you live, this may require people to be able to vote before they could pay for such an increase (as they are required to do so here). With Public services, they do not always have the option to just agree to higher plans, as that funding comes from tax payers, and it is not their decision. The fire department here cannot even buy new equipment or a truck without the people voting to pay for it so not sure how Verizon expected them to be able to do so in the first place. Are they supposed to just stay throttled until the voters get a chance to vote on this due to Verizon choosing to raise their rates?

TLDR;

America is a spoilt child having a tantrum. Data caps and throttling speeds on lower tier plans has been standard practice for decades around the world. Countries engage with ISPs to create government plans which have pricing structures and service terms outside consumer availability for their agencies and emergency services. The US who (wrongly) thinks data caps and throttling are a net neutrality issue have never taken those steps because they've been spoilt for service and think these latest developments are symptoms of an unrelated issue.

Elijin:
TLDR;

America is a spoilt child having a tantrum. Data caps and throttling speeds on lower tier plans has been standard practice for decades around the world. Countries engage with ISPs to create government plans which have pricing structures and service terms outside consumer availability for their agencies and emergency services. The US who (wrongly) thinks data caps and throttling are a net neutrality issue have never taken those steps because they've been spoilt for service and think these latest developments are symptoms of an unrelated issue.

I disagree. I say it is the ISP's that are spoilt and we should do away with them and pay for our internet through taxes and have it as a government utility instead thus removing tiered price gouging plans all together and everyone gets unlimited Data.

The world would be better off without the likes of Att&T anyhow. The fact anyone thinks that internet access should be reserved for the wealthy is part of the problem, not the solution, and are holding mankind back in the long run. The " for profit model" for utilities should be abandoned.

Elijin:
TLDR;

America is a spoilt child having a tantrum. Data caps and throttling speeds on lower tier plans has been standard practice for decades around the world. Countries engage with ISPs to create government plans which have pricing structures and service terms outside consumer availability for their agencies and emergency services. The US who (wrongly) thinks data caps and throttling are a net neutrality issue have never taken those steps because they've been spoilt for service and think these latest developments are symptoms of an unrelated issue.

Ok, first off, Here. A list of how Cable and Phone Companies abused their power when they saw first. A few of my favorites

AT&T, SPRINT and VERIZON: From 2011-2013, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile-payment system that competed with a similar service called Isis, which all three companies had a stake in developing.

EUROPE: A 2012 report from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications found that violations of Net Neutrality affected at least one in five users in Europe. The report found that blocked or slowed connections to services like VOIP, peer-to-peer technologies, gaming applications and email were commonplace.

TELUS: In 2005, Canada?s second-largest telecommunications company, Telus, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website supporting a labor strike against the company. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Toronto found that this action resulted in Telus blocking an additional 766 unrelated sites.

PAXFIRE: In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation found that several small ISPs were redirecting search queries via the vendor Paxfire. The ISPs identified in the initial Electronic Frontier Foundation report included Cavalier, Cogent, Frontier, Fuse, DirecPC, RCN and Wide Open West. Paxfire would intercept a person?s search request at Bing and Yahoo and redirect it to another page. By skipping over the search service?s results, the participating ISPs would collect referral fees for delivering users to select websites.

Good news, it's not just about Data caps. We have blocking Freedom of Speech (although I don't know how it works in Canada), manipulation of data so if you were a paying user for something like skype, it wouldn't work so you would be forced to used their products... Hell, let's monetize your searches! Keep from a good website and have you go to a website that's kicking back some fees to the ISP.

These are shady practices. It's not about being spoiled if you just want what you paid for to work properly.

And as much as you're being a naysayer, have you READ what Lil Devils X posted?

Santa Clara County Fire Department Chief Anthony Bowden made the declaration in an addendum filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals Monday that Verizon has restricted mobile data speeds on an "unlimited" device in an emergency response vehicle on at least three occasions since 2017, apparently pledging after every incident it wouldn't do so again.

They knew it was wrong. That's why they promised at every incident not to do it again. You don't get an A on your midterm and promise not to do it again. Why? Because it's a GOOD thing that you got that A. You pledge not to do things again that you know are wrong.

And... finally. This topic came to be about California firefighters battling one of Largest and most Damaging Blazes in California's history. Be mad at anyone you like... but be on the right side of history, here. You're bashing firefighters. Who run in and save lives for not nearly enough money for the job. They shouldn't even have to pay for stuff like this because it's to all of our benefit that they have the ability to coordinate and save our lives without restriction.

Let's end it like this. If Verizon's building was on fire, do you know the first thing a smart CEO would do after calling the fire department? Tell someone to unrestrict the Fire Department's bandwidth so they can save the building easier.

Elijin:
This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

If we acknowledge that it's a shitty product then why do we tolerate its existence? Why do we let companies get away with offering products that they know are defective?

ObsidianJones:
SNIP

Seems like a bunch of irrelevant sound as I never said I'm against net neutrality, I'm against americans bitching about any change they dont like as fallout from net neutrality. Data caps and the subsequent throttling when hitting those caps is nothing to do with NN. You sign a contract you didnt read or dont understand, you deserve what you get. Especially so for a business or government department.

Elijin:

ObsidianJones:
SNIP

Seems like a bunch of irrelevant sound as I never said I'm against net neutrality, I'm against americans bitching about any change they dont like as fallout from net neutrality. Data caps and the subsequent throttling when hitting those caps is nothing to do with NN. You sign a contract you didnt read or dont understand, you deserve what you get. Especially so for a business or government department.

Likewise does your comments and seeming bitterness have anything to do with the subject at hand. The company already admitted fault in the past for these actions, like Lil Devils X and I already pointed out.

If you have an axe to grind over Americans, you have plenty of other chances. And trust me, they'll come up. If you want to choose this to show how childish Americans are for X, Y, and Z... a situation where the actions of a company could have cost more lives by doing the same thing they already pledged not to do in the past? Well, go on ahead. Nothing more needs to be discussed. Sleep well with that.

The incident is shitty. The things it's being attributed to are ridiculous. I dont care if verizon said they would do one thing. These things are managed by contract. If your sales rep says one thing and you sign a contract that says another, the contract will win. Every time.

Also and most importantly I already opened with saying some mook in support dropped the ball here. The situation was mishandled. The fact that the fire department was on an inappropriate plan in the first place is a different problem.

And the fact that many reports on this issue use emotive phrasing and tenses to make it seem like verizon was preying on an opportunity to make a quick buck by throttling speeds in an unregulated market during a crises is scummy and manipulative.

The data plan was insufficient. It would have throttled, crisis or no. There should be dedicated agents to handle business and government clients to resolve issues. That's the actual issue. That an entry level customer rep stuck to their script, unable to appropriately react to the emergency situation.

Elijin:
This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

Indeed, it is not a true unlimited plan id there's throttling after a certain amount of usage. Also why is a public service using a plan that has all the hallmarks of a residential contract? In Australia the two big telecomms companies (Telstra and Optus, in that order) have whole departments and indeed infrastructure to handle government and emergency services that usually include open-ended data usage, redundant connections and guarunteed uptime with severe penalties to the provider if the internet is down for more than two hours.

Seriously, why don't these guys have that kind of plan?

Gordon_4:

Elijin:
This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

Indeed, it is not a true unlimited plan id there?s throttling after a certain amount of usage. Also why is a public service using a plan that has all the hallmarks of a residential contract? In Australia the two big telecomms companies (Telstra and Optus, in that order) have whole departments and indeed infrastructure to handle government and emergency services that usually include open-ended data usage, redundant connections and guarunteed uptime with severe penalties to the provider if the internet is down for more than two hours.

Seriously, why don't these guys have that kind of plan?

... capitalism.

CheetoDust:

Gordon_4:

Elijin:
This story annoys the shit out of me. Verizon didnt see a chance to strike in an unregulated market.

The fire department did a shitty job picking a plan. They went with a plan that was unlimited data with speed throttling after a certain amount of data bad been used. That point was hit and some mook in customer service didnt correctly identify the emergency situation and offered the standard upgrade to a higher tier plan.

The only stories here are about Americans being too lazy to understand contracts they're signing and some fuck up in a call center not identifying the situation as a priority and lifting the cap.

Indeed, it is not a true unlimited plan id there?s throttling after a certain amount of usage. Also why is a public service using a plan that has all the hallmarks of a residential contract? In Australia the two big telecomms companies (Telstra and Optus, in that order) have whole departments and indeed infrastructure to handle government and emergency services that usually include open-ended data usage, redundant connections and guarunteed uptime with severe penalties to the provider if the internet is down for more than two hours.

Seriously, why don't these guys have that kind of plan?

... capitalism.

Having an entire division dedicated to an enormous client who will provide an indefinite need for service isnt capitalism? Cause that seems pretty capitalist to me. They even incur financial penalties for failure to provide the agreed service.

I'd argue treating something as stable as a public service as a standard consumer is against capitalist values. The endless gain in keeping a client which will never go out of business is worth initial investment in better services.

I mean, exhibit A in "will capitalism chose profits over the common good".

This wasn't the fire department burning up all their data streaming Netflix.

Elijin:
The incident is shitty. The things it's being attributed to are ridiculous. I dont care if verizon said they would do one thing. These things are managed by contract. If your sales rep says one thing and you sign a contract that says another, the contract will win. Every time.

Also and most importantly I already opened with saying some mook in support dropped the ball here. The situation was mishandled. The fact that the fire department was on an inappropriate plan in the first place is a different problem.

And the fact that many reports on this issue use emotive phrasing and tenses to make it seem like verizon was preying on an opportunity to make a quick buck by throttling speeds in an unregulated market during a crises is scummy and manipulative.

The data plan was insufficient. It would have throttled, crisis or no. There should be dedicated agents to handle business and government clients to resolve issues. That's the actual issue. That an entry level customer rep stuck to their script, unable to appropriately react to the emergency situation.

Listen, I try never to tell someone that they are wrong, and I just offer the facts as they are. Here they are.

Verizon yesterday acknowledged that it shouldn't have continued throttling Santa Clara County Fire Department's "unlimited" data service while the department was battling the Mendocino Complex Fire. Verizon said the department had chosen an unlimited data plan that gets throttled to speeds of 200kbps or 600kbps after using 25GB a month but that Verizon failed to follow its policy of "remov[ing] data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations."

"This was a customer support mistake" and not a net neutrality issue, Verizon said.

Santa County's account (accounts will be taken from the link found in the quote)

"In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds," Bowden wrote. "These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262's ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes."

Verizon did not immediately restore full speeds to the device, however.

"Verizon representatives confirmed the throttling, but rather than restoring us to an essential data transfer speed, they indicated that County Fire would have to switch to a new data plan at more than twice the cost, and they would only remove throttling after we contacted the Department that handles billing and switched to the new data plan," Bowden wrote.

Because the throttling continued until the department was able to upgrade its subscription, "County Fire personnel were forced to use other agencies' Internet Service Providers and their own personal devices to provide the necessary connectivity and data transfer capability required by OES 5262," Bowden wrote.

Verizon throttling also affected the department in a response to previous fires in December and June, emails show.

Verizon's response

In a statement to Ars three hours after this article was published, Verizon acknowledged that it shouldn't have continued throttling the fire department's data service after the department asked Verizon to lift the throttling restrictions.

"Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations," Verizon's statement said. "We have done that many times, including for emergency personnel responding to these tragic fires. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us. This was a customer support mistake. We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward."

Verizon also noted that the fire department purchased a data service plan that is slowed down after a data usage threshold is reached. But Verizon said it "made a mistake" in communicating with the department about the terms of the plan.

"We made a mistake in how we communicated with our customer about the terms of its plan," Verizon said. "Like all customers, fire departments choose service plans that are best for them. This customer purchased a government contract plan for a high-speed wireless data allotment at a set monthly cost. Under this plan, users get an unlimited amount of data but speeds are reduced when they exceed their allotment until the next billing cycle."

Verizon owned up. Verizon told the Santa Clara Fire Department false information regarding what they can expect from their plan. SCFD followed procedure set out by Verizon, and all they did was up-sell them.

When the company you purchase anything from tells you that there will be conditions where service is amended, you should trust that every time that condition will occur, you are covered. The Fire Department deals with strictly emergencies. Therefore, when told that data speed restrictions will be removed when contacted in emergency situations, the Santa Clara County Fire Department picked the more than adequate policy.

The facts are here. All that is left is to accept them, or fight on due to bias and distaste for a people.

ObsidianJones:

When the company you purchase anything from tells you that there will be conditions where service is amended, you should trust that every time that condition will occur, you are covered. The Fire Department deals with strictly emergencies. Therefore, when told that data speed restrictions will be removed when contacted in emergency situations, the Santa Clara County Fire Department picked the more than adequate policy.

The facts are here. All that is left is to accept them, or fight on due to bias and distaste for a people.

"You should trust that every time that condition will occur, you are covered".
I am unclear what world you live in, but in the world I live in, a company hasn't amended your plan until you get in in writing. Like, that's the rule of the modern age. The customer rep you're speaking to will say many things, but until you get documented adjustments, it has zero long term worth.

There's a different conversation there about whether that practice (customer service agents promising one thing, making no written changes and having trusting customers come back with the same problem the next month/incident only to be told the company cant know what the customer was told, but no account level changes have been made) is malicious or a conflict of apathetic, incompetent staff against corporate polices... but that's a conversation for another day.

Elijin:

ObsidianJones:

When the company you purchase anything from tells you that there will be conditions where service is amended, you should trust that every time that condition will occur, you are covered. The Fire Department deals with strictly emergencies. Therefore, when told that data speed restrictions will be removed when contacted in emergency situations, the Santa Clara County Fire Department picked the more than adequate policy.

The facts are here. All that is left is to accept them, or fight on due to bias and distaste for a people.

"You should trust that every time that condition will occur, you are covered".
I am unclear what world you live in, but in the world I live in, a company hasn't amended your plan until you get in in writing. Like, that's the rule of the modern age. The customer rep you're speaking to will say many things, but until you get documented adjustments, it has zero long term worth.

Ok, this conversation is done. You told them they should have picked a contract that suits there needs, Verizon communicated to them that the contract they picked will suit their needs so they went ahead with it. Verizon gave them assurances, Assurances they just admitted they put in to practice all the time and were at fault for not doing it again. And you still put the blame on them for not magically knowing that the plan was wrong even though the company itself told the world that Verizon wasn't giving the service that the SCFD was promised.

You chose the second option. There's no more chance of common ground. Be well.

I live in the real world. In the real world, a company can make as many assurances to me as it likes. If they're not in the contract, I cant trust those assurances will be honoured. It is literally people's jobs to review these contracts and ensure the right services and bills are being filled.

It would be lovely to live in your scout's honour version of the world, where a company said something outside (and contradictory to) the contract I signed, and that just means they're totes good for it. But, that aint this world.

Seriously. It is someone's job at that firehouse, (or perhaps the local government office) to ensure the contract between verizon and the fire department says these things. A job that obviously was not done. (Was it your job? You apparently seem to think they're totes good for it, cause they said so that one time.) So long as that job was not done, they were not on an appropriate plan. If that job were done, this entire story would be a very different one, about how Verizon was guilty of breach of contract.

You have this really dumb argument going on that amounts to 'Verizon is taking full accountability for the mistake, so that's that.'

Obviously they're taking full accountability for the mistake. Their person on the phone/email, made the mistake. But it doesnt take away that the Fire Department in question failed to do their due diligence in ensuring their service wouldnt get caught up in this sort of issue. The difference is the fire department can put unlimited pressure on verizon in this situation, because lives were at risk. Verizon has to take full ownership of the issue because otherwise they're the assholes who wanted people to die in a fire over a contract issue.

 

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