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Verizon lifts data caps for California firefighters, Hurricane Lane responders

After swirling controversy about data caps being imposed on emergency responders, Verizon has apologized and will remove restrictions on first responders in California as well as Hawaii, while offering a new plan.


Three days after a complaint was filed accusing Verizon of throttling the Santa Clara County Fire Department's data as the department was battling Mendocino Complex fire, the carrier has apologized.

"In supporting first responders in the Mendocino fire, we didn't live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence," Mike Maiorana, Verizon Senior Vice President of Public Sector, said in a statement. "Our process failed some first responders on the line, battling a massive California wildfire. For that, we are truly sorry. And we're making every effort to ensure that it never happens again."

Verizon went on to announce that it has "removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the west coast and in Hawaii to support current firefighting and Hurricane Lane efforts," and that in the event of future tragedies, it will "lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access."

The company also said that next week, it will introduce a new plan for first responders, which will "feature unlimited data, with no caps on mobile solutions and [which] automatically includes priority access."

The accusations were made Tuesday as part of a declaration filed by Santa Clara County Fire Department, as part of a lawsuit seeking to block the FCC's reversal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. Verizon at the time had characterized the throttling as "a customer support mistake."