Verizon Throttled The 'Unlimited' Data Plan Of A Fire Dept. Battling Wildfires

from the herp-derp dept

We've long discussed how Verizon (like most U.S. cellular carriers) has a terribly-difficult time understanding what the word "unlimited" means. Way back in 2007 Verizon was forced to settle with the New York Attorney General after a nine-month investigation found the company was throttling its "unlimited" mobile data plans after just 5GB of data usage, without those limits being clearly explained to the end user. Of course Verizon tried for a while to eliminate unlimited data plans completely, but a little something called competition finally forced the company to bring the idea back from the dead a few years ago.

But the company's new "unlimited" data plans still suffer from all manner of fine print, limits, and caveats. That includes throttling all video by default (something you can avoid if you're willing to pay significantly more), restrictions on tethering and usage of your phone as a hotspot or modem, and a 25 GB cap that results in said "unlimited" plans suddenly being throttled back to last-generation speeds as slow as 128 kbps. In short, Verizon still pretty clearly has no damn idea what the word unlimited actually means, nor does it much care if this entire mess confuses you.

The latest case in point: one fire department in Santa Clara County, California had subscribed to what it thought was an unlimited Verizon wireless data plan for its mobile command and control center (OES 5262) vehicle. The vehicle is used to manage department resources during wildfires and other emergencies. But a brief (pdf) filed this week by net neutrality supporters pushing for restoration of net neutrality rules (first spotted by Ars Technica) highlights how the fire department suddenly found the vehicle (and all connected systems) largely unusable because Verizon had throttled its cellular data connection after 25 GB of usage:

"Santa Clara Fire paid Verizon for "unlimited" data but suffered from heavy throttling until the department paid Verizon more, according to Bowden's declaration and emails between the fire department and Verizon that were submitted as evidence.

"In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds," Bowden wrote. "These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262's ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes."

This being the telecom industry, Verizon's support response to the problem wasn't what you'd call top shelf. Instead of quickly understanding the dire nature of the complaint and restoring the connection to full speeds, the fire department says Verizon informed them that the fire department needed to upgrade to a new data plan at more than twice the cost. At one point, a Verizon account rep advised that the fire department should pony up for Verizon's per gigabyte rate (which has varied at prices ranging up to a whopping $15 per gigabyte).

If you're playing along at home, this is nothing new. Cellular carriers often impose all manner of confusing limits and caveats as part of an intentional effort to upsell you to more expensive tiers of service you may not actually need. Historically, the FCC's now-discarded net neutrality rules allowed for this kind of throttling in cases of congestion and "reasonable network management" (though this term has long been abused). But the fire department says its connection was being throttled at all times, not just during periods of congestion.

And, lo and behold, the department technically couldn't formally complain to the FCC because Verizon had, as we're all well aware, just got done spending millions of dollars and countless lobbying hours to dismantle net neutrality protections, notes Ars:

"Santa Clara could have complained to the FCC under the now-removed net neutrality system, which allowed Internet users to file complaints about any unjust or unreasonable prices and practices. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's decision to deregulate the broadband industry eliminated that complaint option and also limited consumers' rights to sue Internet providers over unjust or unreasonable behavior."

Lovely. Verizon subsequently admitted that the company shouldn't have throttled first responders anyway, as that was a violation of the company's own policies. But this being the telecom industry, customer service gaffes are a feature, not a bug.

Granted, this is the same company that has fought for more than a decade to crush net neutrality while not only actively denying that's what it was doing, but insisting that net neutrality needed to be dismantled to help protect public safety. As such, there's nothing about this story that's remotely surprising. Verizon has worked tirelessly to ensure it doesn't have to be particularly transparent, whether we're talking about net neutrality or privacy, and the end result has been on proud display for decades.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 4:39am

    "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

    Instead of quickly understanding the dire nature of the complaint and restoring the connection to full speeds, the fire department says Verizon informed them that the fire department needed to upgrade to a new data plan at more than twice the cost. At one point, a Verizon account rep advised that the fire department should pony up for Verizon's per gigabyte rate (which has varied at prices ranging up to a whopping $15 per gigabyte).

    Dealing with an active fire and the rep decided that that was a perfect time to try to force them to 'upgrade' their plan. And yet some people have argued that there's no need for pesky rules or regulations because public shame would be enough to keep companies like Verizon in check.

    Kinda hard to shame someone clearly incapable of feeling it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:44am

      Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

      If ever there were something to rally public support of Net Neutrality around, this may very well be it.

      "Verizon cares more about money than lives".

      or perhaps:

      "Verizon would be fine with watching you burn to death unless you pay(?)"

      Many, the hatchet piece which could be written based upon this...!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

        Telling the truth is a hatchet piece - good to know.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

          The two aren't mutually exclusive.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

            Hatchet piece typically means it is embellished to the hilt in order to accomplish some political goal. If the piece were entirely consisting of fact this term does not apply even tho it still may be flung in hopes it will stick.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:27am

      Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

      Till now I thought Verizon only figuratively wanted its customers to die in a fire.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

        Only if you haven't paid up, corpses after all tend to be rather poor customers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Killercool (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

          Only if they haven't signed up for automatic payments.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:22am

          Re: Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

          I think they still want to bill you even though you have passed away.

          Several instances have been in the news, one in which being dead is an insufficient "excuse" for termination of the contract - I kid you not.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mr Anon, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re: "Who cares about a fire, I've got a data plan to sell!"

        Only if they pay their bill first...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:34am

    Unlimited, top of the list of Lies in Advertising.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      With number 2 being 'free'. Whenever you see 'free', substitute 'at no additional charge' and you'll be closer to the truth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Drawoc Suomynona, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      Don't forget "fastest" because hey, Verizon's speed-of-light is faster than AT&T's speed-of-light.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:40am

        Re: Re:

        My favorite recent advertising campaign is Samsung for their new phone, where they say it's the 'fastest smartphone ever'...based on Ookla download speeds. Because apparently connection speed is the only metric that matters when it comes to running a computer device.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      "Lies in Advertising"

      Isn't this redundant?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:47am

    I poked in the Ars story a bit...
    The original upgrade they said they needed... was a $2 price bump. And until they talked to billing and signed a new agreement they wouldn't unthrottle it.

    Verizon tries to portray this as out of the ordinary & they love saving people except for the firefighters pointing out they have done this exact same thing for years during fires.

    Didn't we clear a bunch of airspace so we could have a nationwide emergency responder network, that wouldn't be at the whim of corporate vultures.

    One wonders how much we handed them already to build that out & gotten nothing in return.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Flakbait (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:13am

      Re:

      First, the amount of the price bump is irrelevant when you're on a fire scene. Even bypassing the procurement and purchasing processes and putting it on your own credit card is a hazard, both career-wise and financially. God alone knows what interwebz providers are going to charge tomorrow.

      Second, willingness to put it on your own credit card doesn't matter if the ISP needs a signed contract...and you're currently on a fire scene.

      Finally, FirstNet, the federal authority tasked with building the first responders broadband network, is actively rolling out the network. https://www.firstnet.gov/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:20pm

        Re: Re:

        It was more about the fact that if they could get $2 a month more they would unthrottle it.

        It wasn;t about using a personal card, it was their Verizon contact felt no pressure in the middle of this to return a call until later the next day to pitch the $99 plan.

        Firstnet... how nice that we're handing more cash to ATT to get it built out, while they are giving more coverage in rural areas... why hasn't the build-out considered the fact a majority of the state as been on fire every year for the last few years?
        A massive incident requiring linking multiple different groups under a single command... isn't that the point?

        Perhaps they are using the standard model of build out in communities where someone needs to get reelected over actual logistical concerns & needs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        First Responders are now supposed to use their personal credit in order to assist the public in crisis?

        This can not be what you were implying, is it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          As I read their comment first responders shouldn't have to need to use their own cards for this but a 'we need a connection right now' scenario could result in that being the quickest way to get it, except for the fact that if an official contract is needed even a willingness to put your own personal funds on the line for a restored connection might not be enough.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kallethen, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:32am

      Re:

      And according to the same article Verizon further told them that was still a plan that would have throttling. The fire department had to still switch to a much more expensive plan to prevent throttling ($99 for the first 20 GB, $8 per GB after).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re:

        Which, hilariously, actually costs $140 just to get the same amount of un-throttled data as before.

        Unlimited detractors claim you need metered plans to encourage people to avoid data use. But, the soft cap at 20 is lower then their unlimited plan's old throttling cap, and so they know they are blowing right past that soft cap. And in an emergency, when that cap is expected to be blown past, a cap does not incentivize lower data usage. "sorry bob, im not sure we can justify checking the expected wind shifts in the area of this fire...We've already used 25 gigs of data. We have to be conscientious of the bandwidth we are using while trying to prevent the county from burning to the ground, you know."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    teknosapien (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:49am

    it'd be a shame

    If the verizon facility caught on fire and were told that they could get a better response for an upgrade to a better plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:07pm

      Re: it'd be a shame

      Nah. Just throttle the hydrants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re: it'd be a shame

        ...to the width of a drinking straw, if they want to match what Verizon's doing. (Except: unlike the wireless market, which we pretend isn't important to public safety, there are strict laws about hydrant availability and flow.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Drawoc Suomynona, 22 Aug 2018 @ 4:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: it'd be a shame

          Doesn't mean that more than one firefighter had to show up.
          The rest couldn't be notified because of Verizon's throttling the alert notices.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:01am

    Conundrum

    Is is that Pai works for Verizon, or that Verizon works for Pai?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:26am

      Re: Conundrum

      neither, they just know that it is easier for them both to gang up on you when they come to rape you.

      And to think... folks like you gave the FCC it's power to begin with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:05am

        Re: Re: Conundrum

        And here you are on an article noting the effects of a lack of regulation complaining about regulation. Therefore you opinion of the effects of regulation are about as close to reality as the RIAA estimate of the loses due to piracy, which is to say somewhere off in fantasy land.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Conundrum

          You clueless knob. Things are heavily regulated. The problem is that you have a screwed up definition of regulations.

          These are your definitions of regulations.

          Bad Regulations = No Regulations
          Good Regulations = Regulations

          I bet you are not even intelligent enough to realize what that does to the debate about regulations do you? It turns it all into one giant argument over a bunch of meaningless fucking buzzwords. And the corrupt Democrats in Washington love you clueless voters for it. Because they get cum these buzzwords into your mouth for you to swallow every election. And when they do put in these regulations... you get fucked up the ass or they get reworked by Republicans pissing you off to no end. Every weapon you give your politician to fight something you don't like is also a weapon you give to politicians you hate for them to fight against something you do like!

          So yea, I quite like my fantasy land... you are the one bitching about yours!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Conundrum

            Actually I know what good regulation is, it is one infrastructure provider, and a choice of ISPs to provide me service over that infrastructure. Meanwhile the US problem is not so much one of regulation, but rather corruption of the regulatory system so that it serves those it is meant to regulate, rather than the people it is meant to be serving.

            Its time you stopped attacking regulations, and started to work on fixing the regulatory system.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re: Conundrum

        But not you, apparently. How is it that it is always 'their' fault with folks like you? You have NO responsibility in this?

        I actually blame the FEC, and the politicians who appoint the FEC members who said money is speech and it's OK for anyone to spend whatever they want in soft money. Politicians, whom I did not vote for.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Conundrum

          "I actually blame the FEC"

          That's okay, I blame them too! Just for different reasons. Do you know who else I blame? The people that asked for and created the FEC.

          What did you eat for breakfast this morning? And how much did you pay for it and where did you buy it from?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re: Conundrum

        "And to think... folks like you gave the FCC it's power to begin with."

        Is it too much to ask to have a government organisation whose explicit purpose is to manage communication infrastructure for the public's benefit, and have competent management installed to actually carry that out?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:54am

      Re: Conundrum

      Pai is paid directly by Verizon, AT&T AND Comcast into his personal offshore (very illegal) bank accounts and has been promised a very well paid job when the government stuff ends.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Morgan Wick (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:04am

    Verizon clearly doesn't even care what anyone else thinks "unlimited" means. Witness their ads for their family share plans boasting "everyone gets the unlimited they need!" evidently hoping you won't realize if their plans were truly without limits, there shouldn't be any differences between them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      Indeed, the idea that "Verizon still pretty clearly has no damn idea what the word unlimited actually means" is ludicrous. They know exactly what it means, and they know that using the word will get them extra money with negligible risk of meaningful punishment.

      "Unlimited" plans would disappear overnight if telco executives could go to prison for blatently false advertising.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      "everyone gets the unlimited they need" is perilously close to "everyone gets the ISP they deserve"...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:03am

      Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

      Yes, this "account" with 72 comments total dates from 2009 when made ONE comment, then NONE until 2015!

      It's just ODD. For any site except Techdirt. Brings total known with 6 year or more gaps to NINE, out of a couple hundred (whom I deem more or less regulars: with "accounts" routinely unused for for 4-6 year, it's difficult to do stats).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:40am

        That you are keeping track of this sort of thing makes me wonder what long-term-care mental health facility would be dumb enough to give you Internet access.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:42am

        Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

        Nobody cares, dude.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:16am

        Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

        Yeah, I'd love to see how you veiw my history. I only comment when I feel my commentary has value beyond me screaming into space. You can always tell when my work is slow though...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

        It's literally not odd at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

        Not as odd as an anonymous coward with a big mouth hiding behind mommy's keyboard.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

        Yeah. I don't see that as unusual. I am too lazy to create an account but you would probably say the same thing about mine. I have been a lurker for many years but probably only commented about 40-50 times total. I think I even had a two year gap when I went back to college.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Aug 2018 @ 12:01am

          Re: Re: Re: And first Zombie of the day is "Morgan Wick" -- 6 year GAP!

          OMG, a true mom's basement dweller, the meme lives!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ryuugami, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:27am

    prices ranging up to a whopping $15 per gigabyte

    Holy mother of...

    Are they bringing you the requested data on foot? I had cheaper internet (even after adjusting for the general cost of living) twenty years ago, living in a small fishing town, in an essentially third-world country that was ravaged by war only a few years prior. Your country is weird.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:41am

    regardless of the apologies and 'this shouldn't have happened' bullshit excuses, this is the exact sort of thing that happens when a country, like almost all of them that were 'affected' by the purposefully induced 'financial crisis of 2006 ish and then became controlled by Conservative governments! nothing and i mean nothing is more important to these assholes than ensuring that they get the most money from any situation, regardless of what the issue is or who is involved/affected! there should be absolutely no restrictions whatsoever on ANY of the emergency services, anywhere or in contacting them! there should be absolutely no charges levied to these services either! how the hell can anyone in their right mind even consider charging for something like this? what a gross pity that the cunts making these decisions weren't on the receiving end of having their mega-roomed mansions destroyed by one of, any of the wild fires we're talking about atm. but what about other emergency situations? maybe a plane crash? a car crash? whatever. people surely are far more important than profit, aren't they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      Except this has happened multiple times in the past during nonconservative government periods as well. In other articles, the department stated the previous times this had occurred and how they had been assured it would not be a problem again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re:

        This is not a left/right issue, why paint it as such unless you are attempting to capitalize upon tragedy - which is a deplorable thing to do.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      I will take pointless hypocrisy for 500 Alex.

      The D's are every bit as responsible as the R's for that. If you are going to point out one side for being bad about something then they need to at least be the leader of being bad about it by a clear margin.

      The corruption is deep and wide on both sides... the only difference is the rhetoric coming from diarrhea mouths like yours trying to make it sound like their shit does not stink!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah - in the 60s Glass–Steagall was dilluted and then Clinton signed the repeal in the 90s.

        There was a bank prob in the 70s were people actually went to jail! And then we have the 2008 crash - no one was even investigated much less prosecuted for their obvious and blatant transgressions. Some do not even have tp pay taxes upon their ill gotten gains.

        However - there are huge differences between the two parties and if you have not caught on to wtf is going on then maybe it is time to wake up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      Don't you mean the fake "crash" of 2008 which was a power grab by a few very rich individuals?

      NONE of the upper 5% of society lost ANYTHING AT ALL.

      all the bailouts and bank-CEO illegal under-the-desk payments came from tax payer funds.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      "purposefully induced 'financial crisis of 2006 ish and then became controlled by Conservative governments!"

      Not sure what you are attempting to say here, but wasn't Bush43 in office during 2006? The election was in 2008. But to claim that the government is/was liberal or conservative is quite the stretch and possibly just bullshit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:50am

    Aren't there laws about interfering with a firefighter as they are going about trying to fight a fire? Why hasn't Verizon been brought to court for their interference?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      temporarily frustrated millionaire, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      That is a minion law, not applicable to the likes of corporations, which are people my friend.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:51am

    delay-related damages?

    Is there any estimate as to whether the data interruption resulted in additional fire damage? Where is an ambulance chaser when we actually need one? No doubt Verizon could afford the monetary damages, but the PR value of a lawsuit would be priceless for promoting how we need loophole-free data plans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 7:58am

    Note that the account the FD was using was already supposed to have been set up as a special no-throttle emergency line. It's not the FD's fault that Verizon decided to change things and then be asinine about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    You can't shout "Fire!" in a Fire Dept unless ther, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:02am

    No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

    All this because a Fire Dept willfully didn't budget an extra TWO BUCKS according to one comment up there? Let alone write a formal letter to Verizon Customer Service asking them to at least see that highest possible plan, if not guarantee vital service?

    Huh. Apparently on Techdirt Verizon bears all blame, is supposed to know which accounts are vital, instead of the person directly responsible foreseeing the need.

    This is just an ordinary Customer Service Rep being BLAMED by Fire Dept for what latter should have set up YEARS before. It's passing the buck. -- And Verizon is charitably taking the blame, rather than get into losing PR fight with the clown who didn't prepare for emergency, even though paid explicitly to.

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      identicon
      You can't shout "Fire!" in a Fire Dept!, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:11am

      Re: No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

      ALSO: relying on COMMERCIAL services is now vital for Fire Dept? Isn't that huge flaw in itself?

      ALSO: this is picked up only by "net neutrality" advocates to attack ISP / carrier, WHEN, if the net was truly "neutral", those vital connections would be at SAME priority as their downloading infringed content! How's that going to work, kids? Here you are DEMANDING PRIORITY 'cause that'd be "net neutrality"!

      Sheesh.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

        Net Neutrality already had had exemptions for emergency services. If you want to argue about Net Neutrality, please at least state valid points.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:43am

        Here you are DEMANDING PRIORITY

        If being unable to watch 4k Netflix movies without lots of buffering is the price I have to pay for firefighters having prioritized traffic over phone and Internet lines, I will pay that price and I will be goddamned glad to do so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:22am

      Re: No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

      what latter should have set up YEARS before

      ...except for the fact that it was set up properly before. Verizon then modified things.

      Verizon has even admitted that it was wrong of them to have continued throttling after having been notified of its error.

      Damn, you shills' lies are pathetic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:29am

      Re: No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

      "Huh. Apparently on Techdirt Verizon bears all blame, is supposed to know which accounts are vital, instead of the person directly responsible foreseeing the need."

      Given that the story involves customer service, that is Verizon's job, as the company should have put that information in the account's file (especially since this has apparently happened before and the dept was told by Verizon it wouldn't happen again).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:58am

      Re: No blame for Fire Dept that could have arranged in advance?

      So a fire breaks out and you want them to write (and mail) a FUCKING LETTER?

      what is wrong with you? I could hazard a guess, and it would involve you being stuck in a padded cell and drugged to the eyeballs until you die of shame.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:08am

    Pigs...

    I see the internal Verizon's policy is FDs should be treated better than the average Joe and Techdirt agrees. So at the end - all the animals are equal, but the pigs are more so? That's lovely... Let's make more "special client exceptions" - politics friendly to telecoms come to mind. Then all the other clients will pay truckloads of money for even more s.itty service.

    It that what you wanted to say, Karl?

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    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:42am

      Re: Pigs...

      Yes, that is exactly what is being said.

      Everyone is equal, but the emergency services that keep people alive are more important than your cat videos.

      What's the problem?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:05pm

        Re: Re: Pigs...

        > What's the problem?

        There are two:
        1. If PD bought a service aimed at watching cat videos, they should not complain they are treated as cat video watchers.

        2. Techdirt's inconsistency - for not seeing that this would be against net neutrality and that it would need automatic content differentiation Techdirt so vocally opposes.

        I never said PD should not have special treatment. But they should not buy a standard product *and expect* a special treatment.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 6:22am

          Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

          If PD bought a service aimed at watching cat videos

          They didn't. They specifically signed an agreement with Verizon years before that the service provided to them would be different than the service provided to cat video watchers. Verizon then went and reneged on that agreement. How is this so hard for you?

          for not seeing that this would be against net neutrality

          No, it's not. Did you read the net neutrality rules? Have you actually LISTENED to ANYONE who supports net neutrality? The rules and people who support NN all support exceptions for emergency, life saving services. To suggest that anyone is ignoring that it's "against net neutrality" is just being intellectually dishonest or severely uninformed on what net neutrality actually is.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

            They didn't. They specifically signed an agreement with Verizon years before that the service provided to them would be different than the service provided to cat video watchers.

            Please, show me, where Techdirt article claims that.

            The rules and people who support NN all support exceptions for emergency, life saving services.

            For those exceptions to be meaningful, they have to be limited to certain organisations (otherwise they would just create a more expensive tier, something NN specifically wants to avoid) and so they have to be requested - also because not all data transmission needs of FD are high priority. I did not find in Techdirt's piece anything about FD requesting those special services, but if you did then please, tell me where.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

              Please, show me, where Techdirt article claims that.

              It's not in the TD article, but unlike you, I do a little research into things and get my facts from several different sources. Here's the following quote from Verizon:

              "Regardless of the plan emergency responders choose, we have a practice to remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations," Verizon's statement said. "We have done that many times, including for emergency personnel responding to these tragic fires. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us.

              So while I don't know the specifics of the contract they signed, it's obvious that this was the expectation, and Verizon even admitted to failing to hold up their end of it.

              For those exceptions to be meaningful, they have to be limited to certain organisations

              Yes, because only certain organizations need those exceptions, such police and fire departments, hospitals, emergency alert services, etc... Not seeing the point here.

              otherwise they would just create a more expensive tier

              What? This literally doesn't make any sense. Why would a more expensive tier need to be created to put network management policies in place that say "this type of traffic from these organizations, gets priority over any other traffic"? It literally costs nothing to do that and is a common way of providing QoS.

              and so they have to be requested

              Yes, because not every organization provides emergency services. So?

              also because not all data transmission needs of FD are high priority

              Allow me to educate you on network technology. There are these wonderful things called routers and firewalls (among others) that can actually distinguish between cat video traffic and traffic that is needed for emergency services. It will look at things like source and destination IP addresses, ports, content of data packets, etc... just to name a few. It's pretty easy to have the network determine what is priority and what isn't automatically with some carefully designed rules.

              I did not find in Techdirt's piece anything about FD requesting those special services, but if you did then please, tell me where.

              See my quote from Verizon above. They signed a contract with Verizon with assurances and expectations that their data would not be throttled in emergency situations.

              Now that said, we could be talking about two different things here. There are certain dedicated emergency services that can be given priority if enough information about them is provided. But if we're talking about just a basic internet connection for mobile responders, that changes things a bit.

              They could still put rules in place that exclude those specific users/devices from throttling but they likely aren't looking for specific traffic to identify emergency services, rather than a dedicated system for such services such as emergency alerting or lifeline services. That is not to say that it couldn't be done, just that it probably isn't.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

              For those exceptions to be meaningful, they have to be limited to certain organisations

              The limits were stated in your quote:

              emergency, life saving services.

              What is so hard to understand about the stated limits?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 8:46am

      Re: Pigs...

      That analogy doesn't work when the pigs are trying to save other animals from burning to death.

      Emergency services should be treated better, as their jobs are to protect/save others. This is why when an ambulance or fire truck comes down the road with its lights and siren on, people get out of the way.

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      • icon
        Killercool (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re: Pigs...

        Well, this guy seems to be ignoring a simple fact in order to be offended:

        It's not the individual firefighters that are needing priority, it's the fire department that needs priority.

        In other words, when the FD goes home for the day, they get the same service as anyone else. But when they are on shift, their shit had better work.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:04am

        Re: Re: Pigs...

        This is why when an ambulance or fire truck comes down the road with its lights and siren on, people get out of the way.

        You obviously don't live in California. (Lucky)

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        • icon
          Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

          I do live in California, unfortunately. For the most part I see people obeying the law, which states that you're supposed to pull over if you see an emergency vehicle with lights and siren.

          As opposed to Pennsylvania, which merely requires you to stay out of their way.

          Fortunately, even the California law makes an exception for a divided highway.

          Anyway, I'm not sure why you're picking on California. I suspect most places have an equal amount of clueless. But I haven't formally collected data and done a statistical analysis, so I have to admit that I'm just guessing, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of human nature.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

            I believe it's probably because of the anecdotally and perception-biased idea that California has a high proportion of drivers who are from places that have lax road rules, and carry that with them to here.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

              Every country, state, province, city, town, podunk and bfe has the worst drivers anywhere on the planet.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:13pm

        Re: Re: Pigs...

        That analogy doesn't work when the pigs are trying to save other animals from burning to death.

        Then they should do it with appropriate tools, not garden hose and watering can.

        Ambulance and fire truck, and all the other emergency vehicles have special treatment when they turn on the lights and sirens - otherwise they should be treated as everybody else. Here FD did not request it, but expected it - and I really cannot see why.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

          "here FD did not request it"

          citation needed, obviously, and yet you declined to provide one so I must assume that one does not exist and you are embellishing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

            citation needed, obviously,

            Of them (not)requesting it? Here you are:

            ""

            OTOH - you can provide citation of them requesting it, right?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              kallethen, 23 Aug 2018 @ 8:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Pigs...

              > OTOH - you can provide citation of them requesting it, right?

              Read the Ars Technica article linked in the story above.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:37am

      Re: Pigs...

      It that what you wanted to say, Karl?

      No, but it's what you are pretending he said so you can complain about it.

      Try again Richard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:41am

      Re: Pigs...

      That tune might be a bit different if it were your house burning down - no?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 9:47am

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/22/verizon_throttled_departments/

    I'm fascinated by all the ...uh, learned folks... in the El Reg forums who are saying things like "They should have negotiated a better deal with Verizon" and "they should contact Verizon just before they go into a situation like this and let them know they'll be needing the bandwidth" and my favorite, "unlimited data isn't unlimited bandwidth".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      To be more accurate the one in the fire would be the firefighters, the service rep would be standing outside, looking through the window, with no fire anywhere near them stating that it was fine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ryunosuke (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        I was insinuating that the Verizon reps building would be on fire, and would still throttle and upsell the FD service plans.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 23 Aug 2018 @ 5:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps, though I'd think that were they actually being effected that might be enough to drown out their greed temporarily. This is Verizon however so...

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  • identicon
    David, 22 Aug 2018 @ 10:22am

    Some policy

    Verizon subsequently admitted that the company shouldn't have throttled first responders anyway, as that was a violation of the company's own policies.

    See, this is where I have a lot of double takes. I am fine with "emergency services can apply for a special plan that is not getting throttled" (though it might be worth figuring out what causes that accumulation of data rates).

    But I have a problem with "emergency services can apply for the same rates as everybody else but won't be subjected to the same fraudulent throttling and extortion practices mentioned in fine print everyone else gets". Because the former is about saving lives, and the latter is about saving reputation.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:00am

    This must be SO tempting for someone to set Verizon HQ alight and have a 30min to 1hr delay in firefighter response because their IP based alarm system got throttled.......

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    • identicon
      David, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:32pm

      Re:

      Frankly, an "IP based alarm system" that requires significantly more bandwidth than a teletype ticker has not exactly been designed smartly. Survival critical systems bogged down in bloatware are a problem of their own, notwithstanding the Verizon shenanigans.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re:

        Frankly, an "IP based alarm system" that requires significantly more bandwidth than a teletype ticker has not exactly been designed smartly.

        But what are you gonna do if the local telco convinced the government it no longer needs to provide copper lines or the regulated services, like dedicated alarm circuits, that use them? Verizon tried to get out of repairing Fire Island landlines by claiming wireless would be just as good.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Will B., 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:33am

    Hey, uhhh...

    ...wasn't one of the pro-NN crowd's arguments that NN would prevent creating priority lanes for emergency services...?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:43am

      Re: Hey, uhhh...

      Probably not

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:44am

      Re: Hey, uhhh...

      That was one of the myriad lies by the anti-NN shills.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Will B., 22 Aug 2018 @ 2:40pm

      Shit.

      *anti-NN, not pro-NN! Mike, haaalp,I need an edit button again >.<

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 3:51am

      Re: Hey, uhhh...

      No, it would not. Using car analogy - just like you cannot pay more road tax and buy yourself an emergency vehicle privilege, but still there are emergency vehicles. Same with net neutrality - "special services" are not available to average citizen, so you cannot just pay more to get them.

      But I agree, Techdirt suggests that FD should be treated specially without applying for the "special services".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: Hey, uhhh...

        "buy yourself an emergency vehicle privilege"

        You can in Russia, how soon till we see similar crap here?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re: Hey, uhhh...

        Oh yeah - and in calf leos and their extended families get a special sticker to put on their vehicle which allows all sorts of "privileges".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Will B., 23 Aug 2018 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re: Hey, uhhh...

        Buddy, we don't agree, I typo'd.

        Also, as has been pointed out in this threas umpteen times now, the FD *did* apply for special services, it was in their contract. Verizon fucked up. They even *admitted* they fucked up.

        This article is, really, about how shittily they train their customer service reps, more than anything. Upsell, upsell, upsell, and don't even double-check the customer's current contract to make sure they're getting what they could be getting, just double down on that sale.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 23 Aug 2018 @ 2:26pm

      Re: Hey, uhhh...

      Learn the difference between priority lanes and QoS. NN rules already called out exceptions for QoS and emergency services.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Will B., 25 Aug 2018 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re: Hey, uhhh...

        Would you be so kind as to read through replies? Since I can't correct typos, all I can do is reply in clarification, which I did a day before your response, pointing out that I meant anti-NN, not pro-NN.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:34am

    I do not know of California's laws, but in Ohio there is Section 2909.04(B)
    (B) No person shall knowingly use any computer, computer system, computer network, telecommunications device, or other electronic device or system or the internet so as to disrupt, interrupt, or impair the functions of any police, fire, educational, commercial, or governmental operations.

    (C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of disrupting public services, a felony of the fourth degree.

    Could Verizon possibly be slapped with a 4th-degree felony? Especially since the public service warned them before that throttling could hinder response time.

    And if the question comes up about the Ohio law stating "Person"
    Corporate personhood: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood
    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burwell_v ... tores,_Inc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      I think the big problem with holding 'persons', also known as corporations, accountable for criminal laws is who do you send to jail? The CEO, the president, other officers, the board of directors, the shareholders, managers, regional directors, state district directors, all of the above? I would vote for all of the above, but limit the shareholders part, unless they own large portions and are or represent an individual who has influence over company policy. Large portions might mean 5% or more.

      Now this has happened, but not nearly enough, and too often the top people managed to point fingers and deny any ability to control their underlings. A sad failure in management, as well as the justice system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re:

        but limit the shareholders part, unless they own large portions

        Who do you go after when that shareholder is another corporation, mutual fund or pension fund?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Personally, I would look at whether they tried to influence corporate policy, then hold those who controlled those influence attempts liable under conspiracy theories. The government is good at accusing others with conspiracy, just not themselves, or favorite entities (for example banks and other 'too big to fail' type organizations).

          But, that's just me.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            NeghVar (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            An investigation leading back to the person who made the specific choice execute the throttling on the public service.
            Say in the Union Carbide case. The CEO may have said to someone further down the chain of command to find a way to cut costs at the plant. That person decides to cut costs by reducing safety checks and proper maintenance of the plant. Despite the dangers, the plant manager follows through as do those below him. The employees at the plant, damned if you do. Damned if you don't. The person who decided on what costs to cut made poor judgment which resulted in the homicide of many. The CEO's trust in that person to make proper decisions was misplaced. So if the scenario was like this, then it would be debatable as to whether or not to charge the CEO.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        NeghVar (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re:

        https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/us/schlitterbahn-waterpark-death-arrests/index.html
        Also,
        Though this involves a different country, the case of Union Carbide and the Bhopal disaster. India had a warrant for Warren Anderson's, Union Carbide's CEO at the time, arrest for multiple homicides. So responsibility would fall on the one who is ultimately in charge of the decision making. Multiple senior staff at the plant were also arrested and charged with homicide.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gary (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:25pm

    Free Enterprise

    Hey, this is how the Laissez Faire system is *supposed* to work. Price gouging is a feature, not a bug so stop complaining.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 22 Aug 2018 @ 12:44pm

    Obviously Verizon is in the right here. If we had only removed the remaining vestiges of competition and regulation, Verizon would have gotten this completely right. Because innovation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:37pm

    Wasn't one of the arguments put forth by ISP's etc while lobbying to dismantle net neutrality that it was inhibiting the bandwidth for emergency services and the destruction of NN would fix that? (poor phrasing, too early in the morning)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      (poor phrasing, too early in the morning)

      Once you've had some coffee, check the last paragraph of Karl's post that says exactly that. (As another comment pointed out, Net Neutrality rules always had exceptions for public safety purposes.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 4:03am

        Re: Re:

        Once you've had some coffee, check the last paragraph yourself - Karl's post suggests exception, but as a part of a normal service.
        This is not how NN works. IMO to get exception you'd have to apply for one - otherwise FD cat video watchers would be given the same high priority as emergency communication. And then NN just limits, who can get higher priority. Buying normal data plan is not a "special services" request.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 1:30pm

        Re: Re:

        You are correct! sorry, had a crap nights sleep. I missed what Karl was alluding too. Just a case of the dum-dums

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    interestingbutmissing1thing, 22 Aug 2018 @ 5:53pm

    how much of this could actually be blamed for outsourcing call centers (probably to india?) and training the staff there not to deviate from the pre written scripted responses?

    things that make you go hmmmmmm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2018 @ 6:35pm

      Re:

      Oh I'm sure the higher up mucky mucks will lay the blame firmly upon some low life minimum wage worker who will be fired, put on the blacklist and will be denied unemployment benefits. And then these same folk will point their fingers at all the homeless people who need to learn personal responsibility.

      /rant

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    carlb, 23 Aug 2018 @ 10:08am

    it should work both ways

    Gotta love private enterprise, but if it applies here it should apply equally everywhere. Taxpayer funds have been wasted responding to silliness like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_New_York_Telephone_exchange_fire for far too long.

    A more cost-effective alternative should be to stop dispatching public resources and leave extinguishing these fires to the highest bidder. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_firefighting#Rome "Marcus Licinius Crassus was born into a wealthy Roman family around the year 115 BC, and acquired an enormous fortune through (in the words of Plutarch) "fire and rapine." One of his most lucrative schemes took advantage of the fact that Rome had no fire department. Crassus filled this void by creating his own brigade—500 men strong—which rushed to burning buildings at the first cry of alarm. Upon arriving at the scene, however, the fire fighters did nothing while their employer bargained over the price of their services with the distressed property owner. If Crassus could not negotiate a satisfactory price, his men simply let the structure burn to the ground, after which he offered to purchase it for a fraction of its value."

    I'm certain that Verizon would be more than content with this level of service, if it were wrapped in a clever marketing campaign misbranding it as "unlimited".

    Can you hear me now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2018 @ 12:25pm

      Re: it should work both ways

      A more cost-effective alternative

      Maybe. But it's definitely not a better life saving alternative. Given a choice between the two, I'd rather be around to complain about the high cost of saving my life than dead or seriously injured.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Christenson, 23 Aug 2018 @ 3:40pm

        Broken sarcasm meter above! lol

        lol...I can hear you...now when can we take away Verizon's tower licenses in heavily populated areas until they build out like they said they would???

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Aug 2018 @ 8:34am

          What does that have to do with the fact that I would rather not have to wait for privatized emergency services (such as fire departments, ambulance and hospital services, etc...) to negotiate a price before saving my life?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Christenson, 24 Aug 2018 @ 4:18pm

            Re: Broken Sarcasm meter

            That sarcasm meter of yours is *really* broken, the needle is bent into a pretzel it seems. Or maybe it's Poe's law.

            I think it's time you read Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal". It's a cost saving proposal, equally serious.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2018 @ 4:21am

    Trickle down effect in action?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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