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Verizon lifts data speed caps for wildfire responders amid backlash

It drew criticism earlier this week for throttling a fire department’s data.
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Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Earlier this week, Verizon came under fire for throttling a fire department's unlimited data while it was responding to the massive Mendocino Complex Fire that's ravaging California. The department was ultimately pushed into a more expensive plan in order to avoid speed caps. After the incident came to light and stoked widespread criticism of the company, Verizon said in a statement that its response was a "customer support mistake" and that it often lifts speed restrictions for emergency responders. Today in a new statement, Verizon added that it has now lifted speed cap restrictions for first responders on the West Coast and in Hawaii and is set to introduce a new plan for these types of responders soon.

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

Yesterday, the company removed speed cap restrictions for those battling wildfires on the West Coast and those involved in Hurricane Lane response efforts in Hawaii. "Further, in the event of another disaster, Verizon will lift restrictions on public safety customers, providing full network access," said Maiorana.

Additionally, Verizon says it will introduce a new plan next week featuring unlimited data with no caps on mobile solutions and automatic priority access. It also said it would "make it easy to upgrade service at no additional cost." More details about the plan will be released at launch.

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Verizon Media. Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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