This year congress passed the Net Neutrality law giving large corporations the ability to slow internet connection speeds and charge more for a faster connection. The recent article below demonstrates what greed and very bad laws can cause. For us internet broadcasters, it means that we have to pay more to ensure a faster connection!
As Santa Clara County firefighters fought the largest wildfire in California’s history, Verizon slowed down their “unlimited” internet connection and demanded money be paid to upgrade to a different data plan, delivering “significant impact” on the emergency services.
Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday about the issue, complaining that an incident support unit recently deployed to facilitate critical communications had been throttled by the internet provider.
“Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services,” he wrote.
The function of the team’s support unit—deployed to the Mendocino Complex Fire—was to “track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed.” Bowden said it relies on a number of cloud computing apps—such as Google Sheets—for disaster management and exchanges up to 10 gigabytes of data per day.
But the fire department’s IT team found data rates were being reduced to 1/200 of its previous speeds. That “severely interfered with the OES 5262's ability to function,” Bowden said, noting that delays could “translate into devastating effects…and, in some cases, loss of life.”
In his letter, the Santa Clara fire chief disclosed some of the correspondence between his IT team and Verizon. In one email, an accounts manager called Silas Buss suggested upgrading to an internet data plan costing “$99.99 for the first 20GB and $8/GB thereafter.”