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The 10 Most Controversial Companies Of 2018

Businesses sometimes find themselves in the news for the wrong reasons. Here are 10 companies that made headlines this year – but not in a good way.

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10. Verizon

Telecommunications giant Verizon found itself in the middle of a public relations firestorm this year when news got out that it had "throttled" data communications from county fire officials, hindering firefighters' efforts to fight the Mendocino Complex Fire in northern California in August.

Officials with the Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District were using the Internet to coordinate the actions of firefighters, fire engines, aircraft and other resources. But in the midst of the battle they found their data connection through Verizon, the county's Internet Service Provider, had slowed to about one two-hundreths its original speed because it was being throttled by Verizon. The county had reached the limit of its data plan.

The incident came to light in an addendum to a petition to reverse the Federal Communication Commission's decision to repeal Net Neutrality rules. Verizon issued a statement saying the company had "made a mistake in how we communicated with our customer about the terms of its plan" and that the incident was not related to Net Neutrality.

But county fire officials were angry over the incident. "In light of our experience, County Fire believes it is likely that Verizon will continue to use the exigent nature of public safety emergencies and catastrophic events to coerce public agencies into higher-cost plans, ultimately paying significantly more for mission critical service – even if that means risking harm to public safety during negotiations," Chief Anthony Bowden said in a sworn declaration, according to a New York Times story.

Verizon Wireless announced that it had stopped throttling data communications for firefighters and other first responders on the West Coast and would soon introduce a new unlimited data plan with no caps, with priority access for first responders.

 
 
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