Fight for the Future


Firefighters and First Responders call on Congress to restore net neutrality following Verizon throttling

Posted 16:08 EDT on August 28, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2018
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

More than 1,000 firefighters, EMTs, and other emergency workers have signed an open letter that launched this week

Amid outcry over Verizon’s throttling of Internet service used by a fire department battling the worst wildfire in California history, more than 1,000 firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, 911 dispatchers, and other emergency workers have signed an open letter calling on Congress to pass the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.

See the open letter here: FirstRespondersForNetNeutrality.com

“Access to reliable, high-quality broadband is essential for our work,” the letter, which was just launched this week, reads. “We routinely place ourselves in dangerous situations to assist others and save lives. But since the Federal Communications Commission repealed net neutrality rules and other key protections in December 2017, the communication services we rely on to do our jobs are no longer meaningfully protected from being arbitrarily slowed, blocked, or otherwise degraded by Internet service providers.”

It continues, “In response, we are joining with millions of businesses, veterans, and Internet users in asking Congress to use their Congressional Review Act (CRA) powers to restore the strong net neutrality rules and other consumer protections that were lost when the FCC voted to repeal its 2015 Open Internet Order.” 

Many first responders also included personalized comments with their open letter signature. Here are some of the comments below:

“Currently serving in armed forces and away from California. It is distressing seeing citizens and friends not receiving the best possible emergency services due to ISP throttling.”
–Louis G., EMT in Santa Barbara California

“My department uses Verizon for emergency services and cannot afford to be throttled.”
–Paul S., firefighter in Santa Ana, California

“Our call paging system relies on private ISPs to relay information from 911 dispatchers to ambulances — it is unconscionable for corporations to endanger public safety for the sake of profit.”
–Corey S., paramedic in San Diego

“EMTs rely on data to receive pages, vital paperwork necessary for patient care, and to help locate calls outside of our service area. Throttling speeds can delay care and cost lives.”
–Larry T., EMT in Little Rock Arkansas

The open letter was just launched this week with support from Fight for the Future, a digital rights organization fighting for net neutrality and an open Internet. Many more signers are expected to join in the coming weeks.

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