Technology

Verizon apologizes for throttling fire department's data during wildfire

Verizon on Friday apologized for throttling the data speeds for a fire department as it was battling the largest recorded wildfire in California's history.

"In supporting first responders in the Mendocino fire, we didn't live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence when our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire," Mike Maiorana, Verizon's senior vice president of public sector, said in a statement.

"For that, we are truly sorry. And we're making every effort to ensure that it never happens again," he added.

Verizon said that it would be introducing a new data plan for first responders that doesn't include throttling after an ensuing uproar. Maiorana said that details about the plan would be released next week.

In the meantime, Verizon said it has removed all speed restrictions for the data plans of first responders on the West Coast and in Hawaii, which is battling flooding from Hurricane Lane.

The controversy began this week when a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general asked a federal appeals court to block the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from overturning its 2015 net neutrality rules.

Their filing included a sworn statement from fire officials in Santa Clara County that said Verizon had slowed their download speeds to a crawl while they were battling the Mendocino Complex Fire.

On Tuesday, Verizon admitted that the incident was a mistake, but maintained that the issue had "nothing to do with net neutrality or the current proceeding in court."

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