Verizon lifts data caps for California firefighters, Hurricane Lane responders

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After swirling controversy about data caps being imposed on emergency responders, Verizon has apologized and will remove restrictions on first responders in California as well as Hawaii, while offering a new plan.

Verizon


Three days after a complaint was filed accusing Verizon of throttling the Santa Clara County Fire Department's data as the department was battling Mendocino Complex fire, the carrier has apologized.

"In supporting first responders in the Mendocino fire, we didn't live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence," Mike Maiorana, Verizon Senior Vice President of Public Sector, said in a statement. "Our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire. For that, we are truly sorry. And we're making every effort to ensure that it never happens again."

Verizon went on to announce that it has "removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the west coast and in Hawaii to support current firefighting and Hurricane Lane efforts," and that in the event of future tragedies, it will "lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access."

The company also said that next week, it will introduce a new plan for first responders, which will "feature unlimited data, with no caps on mobile solutions and [which] automatically includes priority access."

The accusations were made Tuesday as part of a declaration filed by Santa Clara County Fire Department, as part of a lawsuit seeking to block the FCC's reversal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. Verizon at the time had characterized the throttling as "a customer support mistake."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    What an epic "customer support mistake" f-up
    edited August 2018 Ofer
  • Reply 2 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,938member
    Being shamed into doing it is not exactly good PR. I wonder if any Verizon executive’s home were saved by those first responders.
    edited August 2018 curtis hannahMplsPOfer
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Customer pays for a certain level of service = customer receives that level

    We all know Unlimited isn’t unlimited.  There was a mistake made on both sides.  Fireman normally don’t need truly unlimited data, and it would be enormously expective on a limited budget.  The public doesn’t need to be paying for firemen watching Netflix...  

    During an emergency the need is real (for unlimited) and “throttling” becomes a public safety issue with the potential for life lost.  It’s good the issue has been fixed.  The new plan must include additional details that we’re not aware of... probably some kind of usage monitoring.


    Franculesanton zuykovJWSC
  • Reply 4 of 26
    Were those Trees genetically engineered? 
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 322member
    What an epic "customer support mistake" f-up
    I have to wonder who Santa Clara dealt with at Verizon/reseller when the plan was set up. That's where the issue really began.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,646member
    Yes a customer support stuff up. But it a monolithic major carrier. Having a stuff up in customer support is a high likelihood event.
    Does not absolve the fire department knowingly entering a data contract that required customer support intervention when there is a fire. Absolutely appalling risk management, it took a risk that a high consequence, high likelihood event would not happen in a crisis to save a few bucks. 

    The poorly trained dummy at the verizon customer support no doubt has lost their job. They have cost Verizon a lot of money into the future for PR control. Meh, I suppose, but there it is. 
    I hope the penny pinching bean counter at SCFD whose real fault it is also faces the consequences. 
  • Reply 7 of 26
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,779member
    Actually in an emergency it is the general public who should be throttled regardless of their plan or data usage just so emergency responders have maximum available bandwidth.
    JWSCtmayOfer
  • Reply 8 of 26
    entropys said:

    The poorly trained dummy at the verizon customer support no doubt has lost their job.
    That is only if that employee violated policies and rules set forth by the company. Firing a person who did the job by the book you wrote is FAR WORSE PR, than not giving actual limitless plans. In my opinion, none of the emergency services should be using regular services that are not intended to be used as emergency ones. 
    If they keep doing that, it will cost lives.

    Argument "but muh plans are not limitless, and they are used to fight fires" should NOT be made here at all. If you are willing to make that argument, I suggest, you should be willing to consider buying toy helicopters and planes and fire trucks to fight fire. They are cheaper and you can buy them by the truck load. Too bad, they are not designed for those things....but you can always blame a toy company for that and scare it with "bad PR".

    It is a bad argument to make that if those were fire fighters, then everyone needs to bow before them. No, they should plan ahead and buy the right equipment and then, if it is an emergency even though it happens multiple times a year, I suggest firing those morons, and hiring those who can actually figure out what equipment is needed and how to get it IN THE TIMELY MANNER, before the emergency strikes.

    SMH.
    edited August 2018 curtis hannah
  • Reply 9 of 26
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,447member
    My first question was — how do they know who is a firefighter and who isn't if people are using their personal phones in the field? But I guess these are department-issued phones that were affected?
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 10 of 26
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 168member
    Thank goodness for net neutrality saving the day! Oh, wait. Never mind.
    orthiconOfer
  • Reply 11 of 26
    My first question was — how do they know who is a firefighter and who isn't if people are using their personal phones in the field? But I guess these are department-issued phones that were affected?
    Exactly... my guess those phones were issued by the department, and used as personal phones.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    My first question was — how do they know who is a firefighter and who isn't if people are using their personal phones in the field? But I guess these are department-issued phones that were affected?

    It was actually a department vehicle that had an installed SIM. The firefighters were having to use their personal devices to supplement until they could get the plan updated through the county’s billing department.
    tmay
  • Reply 13 of 26
    entropys said:
    The poorly trained dummy at the verizon customer support no doubt has lost their job.
    Sure you don't want to rephrase that?  I have one friend who works in a customer support role and absolutely loves interacting with and helping others (previously she taught mathematics).
  • Reply 14 of 26
    spacekid said:
    Thank goodness for net neutrality saving the day! Oh, wait. Never mind.
    Learn what net neutrality is before shilling in favor of censorship.
    anton zuykov
  • Reply 15 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,285member
    lkrupp said:
    Being shamed into doing it is not exactly good PR. I wonder if any Verizon executive’s home were saved by those first responders.
    "Integrity is what you do when no one is looking." Verizon did nothing until it was clear everyone was looking.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,634member
    I'm embarrassed for the response that I see from some of you.

    I worked seasonally as a Wildland Firefighter for the BLM while I obtained my Engineering degree, and after that, took jobs on a Helitack Crew, and later worked three seasons as a Smokejumper out of Ft. Wainwright, AK, and deployed throughout the West.

    I've never seen such attacks on a class of people that actually see significant risk in their daily lives, providing a service that is absolutely required, not to mention a work ethic the likes the few of you could imagine or even obtain.

    For the record, the SIM was for use in a Mobile Command Post, providing communications to some of the resources on a fire some hundreds of miles north of Santo Clara, the Mendocino Fire Complex, possibly record breaking in modern times, via a Verizon plan that was ridiculously inappropriate for emergency services, because there was, to that time, no true unlimited plan available.

    Now, thanks to the fuck up by Verizon, there will be an actual unlimted plan available to emergency services.

    Piss off.



    edited August 2018 danhjcs2305jcs2305Oferlowededwookie
  • Reply 17 of 26
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 721member
    tmay said:
    I'm embarrassed for the response that I see from some of you.

    I worked seasonally as a Wildland Firefighter for the BLM while I obtained my Engineering degree, and after that, took jobs on a Helitack Crew, and later worked three seasons as a Smokejumper out of Ft. Wainwright, AK, and deployed throughout the West.

    I've never seen such attacks on a class of people that actually see significant risk in their daily lives, providing a service that is absolutely required, not to mention a work ethic the likes the few of you could imagine or even obtain.

    For the record, the SIM was for use in a Mobile Command Post, providing communications to some of the resources on a fire some hundreds of miles north of Santo Clara, the Mendocino Fire Complex, possibly record breaking in modern times, via a Verizon plan that was ridiculously inappropriate for emergency services, because there was, to that time, no true unlimited plan available.

    Now, thanks to the fuck up by Verizon, there will be an actual unlimted plan available to emergency services.

    Piss off.



    Thanks for sharing some facts on this situation. Some of these comments were getting a little silly.  B)
  • Reply 18 of 26
    spacekid said:
    Thank goodness for net neutrality saving the day! Oh, wait. Never mind.
    what does net neutrality have to do with throttling of data plans? Throttling was there with or without net neutrality. 
    tallest skil
  • Reply 19 of 26
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,176member
    I understand that Verizon didn't have a plan set up. PPPP, as we said in the military. But somebody from the FD contacted somebody at Verizon. 

    Somebody at Verizon made a bad decision. Even if it was a first line CSR, they should have known that this was something to be handled by high level management. Even middle management would probably have had to kick it up.

    Somebody might have made a decision they weren't authorized to make. That would mean the top level management might not have been aware of the problem. If so, shame in the Verizon employee (regardless of level) who made the bad call.

    If high level management made the bad decision, it's disgusting that as mentioned, they had to be shamed into corrective action.

    I hope other carriers have taken notice, if not already made plans to assist emergency services.

    Personally, I doubt any major carriers would need to throttle customers to provide unlimited, un-throttled throughput to first responders in the event of an emergency, but it would a minuscule price to pay.

    We know many first responders have paid a significantly higher price for us.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    That’s hocus pocus. They don’t need internet to efficiently communicate & operate water. A cb radio & a switch. Communication & water. They rely too much on an isp. 
    anton zuykov
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