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.