Verizon Throttling Creates Life and Death Situations

The Cost Of Net Neutrality

For those who don’t know a lot of outrage has been directed at Verizon for throttling firefighter’s using an unlimited data plan (apparently once you hit 25GB they throttle you to 1/200 of the speed or less).  If we assume they had 40mbit of bandwidth this would bring them to just 24.4 K/s (kilobyte/s) or possibly much less.  What we are really talking about at best is probably more like “dialup speeds”.

I’m not sure what would upset me more, the fact that it is essentially false advertising, or that they did this to emergency services at the cost of lives.  I made a post about my concerns of the cost of Net Neutrality and the cost of not just the right to information but if this could potentially affect emergency services- I was right.

Clearly 25GB at normal speeds and anything above at unusable dialup speeds should be considered unconscionable.  Whether we agree with that or not it’s clear that choosing Verizon and having Net Neutrality which allows this, is just another nasty impact it is having.

Verizon has since stated that it was an ’employee who made the error not net neutrality’….

“County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon,” Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in the filing, reported on earlier by Ars Technica. “This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services. Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire’s ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services.”

The fire department paid for an unlimited plan from Verizon but suffered heavy throttling until it agreed to pay more for another plan, according to an addendum to a legal brief filed by 22 state attorneys general that seeks to overturn the rollback of net neutrality rules earlier this year by the FCC.

If you ask me if I believe Verizon, I can’t really say but I’ll say this….A lot of providers have that in their TOS fine print, that they reserve the right to throttle even on unlimited plans, and Net Neutrality gives them that right.

We should thank Verizon though, because of the seriousness of what they did created a real life example of the cost of Net Neutrality. What if they did this to lets say the Cave Divers who rescued those kids….the implications of the cost is heavy and we should thank them for giving us a taste of what could have happened. And why we need to reverse Net Neutrality and held those who repealed it in the first place accountable.

Today, people’s lives are being put at risk when fighting fires, both firefighters and people in the path of the fire.  Tomorrow, it’ll be paramedics or the police, or an entire hospital…

What if a US company is ordered to throttle “alleged bad communication” to China or Russia effectively cutting off families from each other?  It could be worse, what if someone was having an important phone call or sharing critical information and the throttling occurred? What if certain emergency services were on the phone with patients and it was throttled? It was inconceivable, but as we saw with this case, it’s not only fully conceivable, companies are intending to do it.

The internet itself is already rife with technical issues such as high latency, saturation and other routing issues.  Adding willful disruption and interference into people’s internet connection is just one more thing to worry about.

It’s also a concern for business and could be the next Great Firewall of the US if things continue this way.  As a company we don’t have time to worry about and troubleshoot US throttling issues.  If it continues to become a worry and examples of corporate and business throttling occur I think there will be a mass exodus to non-US jurisdictions that don’t do this.

A lot of our Canadian traffic goes through parts of the US, which is worrisome. We have to make sure that Canadian Providers aren’t allowed to throttl speeds, especially when it comes to Emergency Services, School & Universities, and overall NOBODY. I propose at least for Canada, to make infrastructure our own so we do not have to depend on US connectivity. We should take this opportunity to lay fiber down and have connections to Asia and Europe if we don’t already, so that we can be independent from US policies that affect daily Canadian lives and Canadian Services and Companies to ensure that a Verizon like situation never happens here.

What do you think? Was Verizon wrong or right?

Cheers,
A. Yasir

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