Santa Clara County Firefighters were critically hindered by Verizon when fighting the Mendocino fire. How you ask? Well, Verizon has publicly stated that they will throttle their customers' Unlimited plan speeds after 25 GB of monthly usage, regardless of being an Government entity, as do Sprint and AT&T.
The Santa Clara County Firefighters utilize the internet to track fires and determine where they need to deploy resources. Obviously, when you are a first responder trying to save lives and property, having your data speeds suddenly slow down to totally useless dial-up modem speeds is not acceptable.
Santa Clara officials are furious at Verizon over this. In my view, you cannot blame Verizon for doing what they clearly stated that they will do. I would personally blame the head of IT at the Fire Department. As consultants for public sector organizations, the first thing we do is verify whether the carrier has special first responder access programs. If they do, we get them preferential treatment so they are not blocked or slowed down. If there are no programs available, we generally recommend T-Mobile because all of their plans, consumer, corporate or government, exclusively offer 50GB per line, per user, before throttling. Having been done this same road personally with Verizon in the past, their solution was to buy a more expensive plan that increased the data capacity. As an unbiased consultant, I told my client he could pay more with Verizon to increase his 25GB per user allocation or just port to T-Mobile for the same costs and get 50GB per user. No brainer!
My opinion is after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai rolled back net neutrality, Verizon, AT&T, and all the big Cable players are back to doing what's best for them, not the public. This is exactly why we offer wireless consulting services. Not all Unlimited plans are the same or even close. You are better off finding out about this stuff ahead of time, not when lives and property are at stake.
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Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.