CTIA Opposes California Bill to Prohibit Carriers from Throttling Public-Safety Data
Friday, April 26, 2019 | Comments

CTIA is opposing a bill, unless amended, in the California state legislature that would prohibit wireless carriers from throttling data to public-safety agencies during emergencies.

CTIA said the bill, AB 1699, includes vague mandates, problematic emergency trigger requirement and failure to include notification requirements that could work to impede activities by first responders during disasters.

Last year, Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden said Verizon throttled the California county’s data speeds during the Mendocino Complex Fire, hindering its response efforts.

In a letter to the assembly, CTIA said the bill’s “not impair or degrade” standard is ambiguous and may result in serious unintended consequences, including needless litigation. The association representing U.S. wireless carriers also said the “emergency” trigger for AB 1699 is excessive and should be limited to a “state of emergency” declared by the president or the governor rather than at the local level. CTIA also argued the legislation should include notification requirements. Finally, the association said the pending law’s provisions should not be in the public utilities code, and that the Office of Emergency Services (OES) is the appropriate entity to deal with issues related to emergencies.

A hearing in the California Assembly’s Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee about the bill is scheduled for April 30. Numerous public-safety agencies in California support the bill.

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