osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

VZ, AT&T Look to Pull Copper From Rural Areas

One of the absolutes in the telephone world for about a century is that we make sure, to the best of our ability, that anyone can get it. Part of this is what we call "carrier of last resort" or COLR. No matter how rural and hard to reach you are, no matter how expensive to provision your line, the phone company that services your franchise area needs to give you a phone.

Recently, phone companies have been lobbying to get rid of COLR and other forms of state regulation. They have proven surprisingly successful in rural states, where corruption and "small government" ideology has actually trumped self-interest for constituents. Mind you, most of these constituents appear unaware of the fact that the only reason they get certain services is that government requires industry to provide them. (A problem called the "hidden welfare state" problem.)

Now Verizon President and CEO Lowell McAdam tells investors that -- surprise! -- VZ plan to pull copper out of high-cost low return rural areas in states that have eliminated COLR. McAdam maintains that rural folks will have opportunity to sign up for VZ's (more expensive) LTE wireless network once it is deployed. But since the build out obligations on VZ's AWS spectrum suck, there is no guarantee of 100% overlap.

This is what happens when you rewrite the social contract to contain a single line: "sucks to be you." I am sympathetic to those in rural areas who, in the words of Will Rogers, get the government the majority deserves. But really, why should wealthier liberal elites in urban areas be forced to subsidize service to 'real Amuricans' in rural areas? That is sooooo New Deal.

Next up, you know that federal crop insurance that is rescuing you from the worst drought in 50 years? Why should the federal government do that? What makes crop insurance different from health insurance? Leave it to the private sector, "comrade"!

I'm not sure which Avenue Q song works better here, Schadenfreude or Sucks to Be Me (in this case "Sucks to be you").

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