Verizon’s greed never should have put firefighters in danger

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This summer firefighters have been battling the worst wildfires in California’s history. In the midst of this, Verizon was caught throttling their Internet connection, and didn’t restore it until the fire department agreed to pay more than double.

In response to more than 1,000 firefighters, EMTs, 911 operators and other first responders have signed on to an open letter calling on Congress to restore net neutrality, to ensure that big telecom companies are not allowed to put their profits ahead of public safety.

If you’re a first responder, add your name here: FirstRespondersForNetNeutrality.com

What Verizon did to these firefighters could have been prevented with strong net neutrality rules in place. This is exactly the kind of abuse we have warned about since the FCC first announced its plan to repeal these key protections.

The rules the FCC repealed, the 2015 Open Internet Order, had enhanced network disclosure rules that would’ve promoted greater transparency on plans offered by providers like Verizon. Additionally, the FCC would have had full oversight over broadband services, and could have been able to investigate what Verizon described as a simple “mistake.” But sadly, when the FCC repealed net neutrality, they essentially walked away from any responsibility over broadband. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great post laying all of this out here.

Going forward we can restore strong net neutrality protections by passing the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the FCC’s repeal. So far more than 170 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have signed the CRA “discharge petition” to force a vote to restore net neutrality past House leadership, but there are tons more who are ignoring us.

No elected official wants to look like they’re risking public safety or selling out emergency workers who are risking their lives. That’s why it’s essential that we amplify the voices of first responders in this debate.

If you’re a first responder please add your name to the letter, or forward the URL FirstRespondersForNetNeutrality.com on to every emergency worker you know.

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