Texas bill would pro­tect com­mu­ni­ca­tions in dis­as­ter zones

Texarkana Gazette - - OPINION -

Band­width throt­tling is when an In­ter­net ser­vice provider se­lec­tively slows con­nec­tion speeds or blocks con­tent for cer­tain cus­tomers.

Some­times it’s used sim­ply to gain bet­ter con­trol of traf­fic flow for all users. Proper band­width man­age­ment can help pre­vent server crashes.

But it can also be used for com­pet­i­tive pur­poses against par­tic­u­lar web­sites or to get users to up­grade to more ex­pen­sive ser­vice. Last year, one ISP throt­tled the Santa Clara County Fire Depart­ment’s wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan while the depart­ment was busy fight­ing wild­fires. The Depart­ment had to pay more to get the ser­vice it was used to. The com­pany said it was a mis­take.

Maybe so. But with any luck there won’t be any such mis­takes in the Lone Star State.

Right now there is a bill in the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that would pro­hibit throt­tling in a de­clared dis­as­ter zone.

HB 1426 reads “A mo­bile In­ter­net ser­vice provider may not im­pair or de­grade law­ful mo­bile In­ter­net ser­vice ac­cess in an area sub­ject to a de­clared state of dis­as­ter.”

We hope the Leg­is­la­ture gives this bill ev­ery con­sid­er­a­tion. It’s a good idea.

Emer­gency work­ers have it hard enough. They shouldn’t have vi­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions throt­tled when they need them the most—whether “by mis­take” or for profit.

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