New Verizon Ad Hopes To Make You Forget It Throttled Firefighters For No Reason

from the modern-day-antihero dept

A few weeks back we noted how Verizon found itself in hot water for throttling the cellular connections of California firefighters as they battled one of the state’s biggest wildfires on record. There was nothing surprising about the story, which again highlighted how cellular carriers advertise their connections as “unlimited,” then impose all manner of arbitrary and confusing restrictions. Quite often, the restrictions are imposed simply to help Verizon make even more money (like when Verizon effectively banned HD video on its network, then hit its “unlimited” users with charges if they wanted the videos to display as the origin source intended).

In the case of the California firefighters, Verizon repeatedly throttled the connection being used by firefighters mobile command center for seemingly no reason and in violation of Verizon’s first responder policies. When the firefighters complained to Verizon, the company’s first reaction wasn’t to immediately understand the gravity of the situation and fix it — it was to try to upsell them to a more expensive plan during an emergency. As you might expect, Verizon’s friends at the FCC saw absolutely no problem with any of this.

Hoping to move beyond the scandal, Verizon has released a new ad spotted by Ars Technica in which the company professes its adoration for first responders, and pats itself on the back for heroically helping heroes be, you know, heroic:

Verizon was so keen on people adoring it for its adoration of firefighters, the company issued an accompanying press release attempting to drive the point home by proclaiming that “what we do saves lives.” Verizon and AT&T have been trying to nab taxpayer funds as part of a bid to shore up nationwide cellular emergency networks after said networks did a face plant on 9-11. This being AT&T and Verizon, those efforts have gone just about as well as you might expect. But Verizon pretty clearly felt the need to try and shore up its image after its assault on net neutrality and first responder fiasco earlier this year.

Unsurprisingly, Verizon was forced to shutter the comments on its YouTube video after the public reception was… frosty. The video received more than 20,000 dislikes and was delisted by Verizon in a little under 24 hours after the video was posted. Reddit has also been having a good time lambasting the ad:

“They just recently hid the likes/dislikes, disabled comments, AND made the video Unlisted. LOL.

I think they got the point.”

It’s clearly not the reception company executives expected, highlighting again how they’ve under-estimated the prolonged backlash to the company’s frontal assault on net neutrality (which, you’ll recall, another Verizon video insisted never actually happened).