Verizon: No internet speed restrictions for West Coast first responders
Informational hearing scheduled Friday at state CapitolSACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A nationwide telecommunications company that slowed internet service to firefighters as they battled the largest wildfire in California history says it has removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the West Coast.
Verizon Senior Vice President Mike Maiorana says the service restrictions were removed as of Thursday and include Hawaii, where emergency crews have rescued people from areas flooded by Hurricane Lane.
"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," Maiorana said. "For that, we are truly sorry. And we’re making every effort to ensure that it never happens again."
Maiorana says that from now on Verizon will lift restrictions and provide full network access to first responders during disasters.
"We’ve been working closely with mission critical first responders to refine our service plan to better meet their unique needs," Maiorana said. "As a result, we’re introducing a new plan that will feature unlimited data, with no caps on mobile solutions and automatically includes priority access. We’ll provide full details when we introduce the plan next week, and we will make it easy to upgrade service at no additional cost."
The Santa Clara County Fire Department says in a lawsuit that Verizon slowed its internet communications at a Northern California wildfire command center three weeks ago.
California lawmakers are holding an informational hearing Friday at the state Capitol to discuss what happened.