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Texas Bill Would Make it Illegal to Throttle Data in Disasters

Texas State Representative Bobby Guerra has introduced a bill in the Texas House of Representatives that would make it illegal for carriers to throttle data in disaster areas. The proposed bill comes in the wake of the California wildfires in 2018. It was discovered that Verizon was throttling data usage that impacted fire fighters during those wildfires, causing outrage and concern for emergency staff as well as the public.

The bill from Representative Guerra would make it illegal for carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and others to throttle data in a disaster zone or disaster situation. The bill, which can be found here, states that a mobile internet provider cannot impart or degrade mobile internet service in a area that has been declared a disaster. You can read the short bill here.

The question now is if the bill will pass the Texas legislature but it does have a reasonable shot at doing so. The state’s legislature is currently a Republican majority while this bill was introduced by Democrats Guerra. While Republicans in the state tend to want to have light regulations for companies, the state itself has been subject to hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters over the past decade that could push the bill through.

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