Congressman Garamendi Calls for Investigation into Verizon for Throttling Local Fire Department’s Data During Mendocino Complex Fire

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Davis, Fairfield, Yuba City) sent a letter with 12 of his California Democratic colleagues to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for an investigation into Verizon for slowing the download speeds of the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s ‘unlimited’ data plan after it hit a ‘data cap’ while it was battling the Mendocino Complex Fire—the largest wildfire in California history. Specifically, Garamendi and his colleagues are asking the FTC to determine whether Verizon’s practices were ‘unfair’ or ‘deceptive’ pursuant to Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

“Diminishing the download speeds of data that our firefighters rely upon to coordinate and deploy resources to fight active wildfires is unconscionable. The Mendocino Complex Fire is threatening numerous communities throughout my district, including Lake County, which has experienced eight wildfires over the past three years. Any delay in firefighting efforts could be a disaster for my constituents, and we must ensure our first responders have unabated access to the services they rely upon to keep our communities safe,” Garamendi said.

“I’m calling upon the FTC to investigate this matter and determine whether Verizon is misleading customers in the services they offer, and to identify remedies that can prevent events like this from occurring in the future. I would like to thank Congresswoman Eshoo for coordinating this letter, and many of my California Democratic colleagues who joined us in this effort,” Garamendi concluded.  

The letter was also signed by Representatives Nancy Pelosi (CA-11), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Doris Matsui (CA-6), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Mike Thompson (CA-5).