SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) – A hearing is set to happen at the State Capitol on Friday to figure out why Verizon throttled data to first responders during the Mendocino Complex Fire.

Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden says the throttling made it difficult for crews to coordinate during the initial fire fight.

Verizon acknowledged that it wrongly limited data speed to the Santa Clara County Fire Department after the county reached its monthly data capacity under its internet plan.

Friday morning, Verizon’s Senior Vice President of Public Sector Mike Maiorana released a statement that the company “didn’t live up to our own promise of service and performance excellence when our process failed some first responders on the line.”

Maiorana says Verizon has removed all speed cap restrictions for first responders on the west coast, and also for emergency crews in Hawaii as Hurricane Lane approaches.

The company will also be releasing a new unlimited data plan for first responders.

Previously, Verizon said full-service should have immediately been restored when the fire department told them they were responding to a public emergency. Instead, the fire department says a customer representative from Verizon urged the county to upgrade to a more expensive package.

Chief Bowden and Verizon representatives are slated to speak at the hearing.

As of Friday, more than 415,000 acres have burned in the Mendocino Complex Fire. Full containment is expected come September.


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