Verizon picked a bad time to “throttle” communications use by firefighters fighting the Mendocino Complex fire, says a Bay Area firefighting agency that was assisting with the response to the massive fire.
The Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District says a communications vehicle it dispatched to the Mendocino Complex, the largest wildfire in California’s history, was rendered essentially useless after Verizon reduced data speeds to a fraction of what firefighters needed, reported the Sacramento Bee.
Santa Clara’s complaint was lodged in a legal brief filed Monday as part of a major lawsuit aimed at restoring “net neutrality,” the doctrine that says all internet traffic must be treated equally.
The FCC says net neutrality stifles innovation. But 22 state attorneys general, in their court filing Monday, said net neutrality prevents internet service providers from implementing practices such as “throttling,” in which data speeds are dramatically reduced. Left to their own devices, internet providers “will abuse their gatekeeper roles in ways that harm consumers and threaten public safety,” the court filing said.