Throttling Hurts Firefighters’ Efforts In California


Virtually everyone who owns a smartphone or other device for which they subscribe to the mobile streaming of data – in other words, so they can browse the World Wide Web – is all too familiar with data caps.

Seemingly every single month, our service plans slow down to speeds similar to that of a crawling turtle. Even though we pay for “unlimited” data streaming, smartphone users simply aren’t given the unlimited high-speed access of the Internet.

Just like everything in life, people are different and things aren’t fair. If people constantly streamed songs, movies, television shows, and other forms of media that take up high allotments of data, everybody on a telecommunication provider’s network would experience snail-slow download speeds. As such, in order to keep things fair, argues Internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, data caps must be implemented and enforced.

Throughout the past month, wildfires have taken California by storm; although the area is consistently burned by wildfires year after year, this year’s wildfires have been some of the worst in California state history.

Thousands of firefighters and volunteers have fought the wild blazes that have engulfed homes, buildings, and vehicles in the blink of an eye and left them unrecognizable once they passed. Fighting wildfires is inherently dangerous, though somebody’s gotta do it.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department has made news headlines around the world over the past few days because its Internet service provider – Verizon Wireless – had throttled its transmission speeds so that the government agency couldn’t effectively use connected devices.

Anthony Bowden, the Chief of the Santa Clara Fire Department, shared in a written statement that “This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services.” The statement went on to detail exactly how Verizon Wireless’ regular throttling of data bit firefighters on the proverbial rear end at the wrong time.

Here’s the catch – even though Verizon Wireless had been informed by local governments of counties and cities across the Golden State that were largely engulfed by flames that such throttling had really gotten in the way of their ability to perform their jobs, the telecommunications giant seemingly didn’t care.

After all, Verizon Wireless did not have a legal obligation to provide full-speed Internet service to the Santa Clara County Fire Department of California.


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