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Verizon Offers Unlimited Service in Tornado-Impacted Areas

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(Image credit: Verizon)

Verizon is giving its consumer subs and small business customers* a break in areas devastated by the tornados.

Verizon says customers in parts of Kentucky--the hardest-hit state--and Illinois will get unlimited calling, texting ad data from Dec. 12 through Dec. 18.

The unlimited service will be available in Mayfield and Owensboro, the hardest hit areas of Kentucky, and parts of Edwardsville, Illinois.

It said its response team would also be available 24/7 to coordinate with emergency responders.

"We are mobilizing charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies across the U.S.," Verizon said.

“Our thoughts are with all of those impacted by these historic tornadoes,” said Consumer VP Matt Carr. “We know that there is hard work ahead to recover, and this is one small thing we can do to ensure they are able to connect worry-free following the storm.”

Verizon took some flak in D.C. during the net neutrality rule debate over an issue involving firefighters in California and their difficulty in securing sufficient bandwidth to deal with emergency communications.

Following that, Verizon said it would lift all broadband "speed cap" restrictions for firefighters on the West Coast (and in Hawaii dealing with Hurricane Lane), and would do so in disaster situations as a general rule going forward.

AT&T, which built and operates the FirstNet interoperable emergency response network born out of the communications failures on 9/11, said it had gotten 14 FirstNet requests from public safety officials in Kentucky. Tennessee and Arkansas--public safety gets priority use of that emergency network spectrum during emergencies. "Our teams and FirstNet liaisons continue to be in contact with federal, tribal, state and local officials on our deployment efforts to support public safety and the communities in impacted areas," AT&T said.

* 50 lines or fewer■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.