American lawmakers are pushing for a federal probe of Verizon's mobile service speed throttling practices that recently crippled California's firefighters during their efforts to combat some of this summer's fiercest fires in the United States. In a Friday letter addressed to the Federal Trade Commission, numerous Congress members demanded a formal investigation into the matter, stating that the agency ought to look into whether Verizon or any other wireless carrier in the country sold "unfair or deceptive" services to the government's emergency and public safety entities.
The letter specifically references Verizon's recent gaffe, demanding a formal investigation of whether the New York City-based telecom giant violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. That part of the said legislation deals in "unfair or deceptive acts or practices," detailing probes, remedies, and punishments for such behavior. Verizon already apologized for the ordeal and vowed to do whatever it can to avoid similar incidents in the future. As part of those efforts, the company momentarily stopped throttling mobile service speeds of all public safety workers in the country and started working on a new wireless plan meant to address such specific use cases which is expected to be officially introduced in the near future.
Earlier this month, the Santa Clara County Fire Department saw its firefighting vehicle OES 5262 crippled after Verizon throttled its data connection, preventing it from relaying video content and commands between a plethora of sources and hence helping the department's firefighters be maximally equipped for tackling this summer's devastating fires. The letter addressed to the FTC was signed by over a dozen Congress representatives, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The federal regulator has yet to respond to the demand and isn't obliged to do so, with Verizon also remaining mum on the development so far. No other national carriers have been embroiled in similar incidents in recent history and it's presently unclear whether the ordeal prompted any service revisions at Verizon's competitors.