California Leaders Call for Probe Into Verizon Throttling in Letter to FTC

Several California members of Congress, including Bay Area representatives, have called for an investigation into Verizon's throttling of fire department data during a deadly and destructive Northern California fire last month.

In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, the contingency demands that the agency protect consumers, especially public safety entities, from any deceptive practices by communications companies such as Verizon Wireless.

The letter is signed by 13 Congress members, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

"It is unacceptable for communications providers to deceive their customers. But when the consumer in question is a government entity tasked with fire and emergency services, we can't afford to wait a moment longer," the letter states. "The FTC must investigate whether Verizon and other communications companies are being unfair or deceptive in the services they're offering to public safety entities, and if so, to determine what remedies are appropriate to ensure our first responders have adequate service when lives are on the line."

After it was accused of throttling the Santa Clara County Fire Department's internet connection during the Mendocino Complex Fire, Verizon admitted it made a mistake. The fire department's chief accused the company of slowing the data plan down to one-two-hundredths of normal speed.

Days after Verizon admitted its mistake in throttling the data, the company announced multiple policy changes, including removing all speed caps on first responders.

The letter was signed by Reps. Pelosi, Anna Eshoo (CA 18th District), Mike Thompson (CA 5th), John Garamendi (CA 3rd), Jared Huffman (CA 2nd), Ro Khanna (CA 17th), Barbara Lee (CA 13th), Jackie Speier (CA 14th), Zoe Lofgren (CA 19th), Mark DeSaulnier (CA 11th) and Doris Matsui (CA 6th).

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