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Communications Businesses

Verizon Sells Off Rural Lines 192

Posted by kdawson
from the no-broadband-for-you dept.
ffejie writes "Verizon has announced that it will be spinning off rural assets to FairPoint Communications. These include all assets in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The deal will close sometime in 2007 and is worth $2.7 billion. 1.6 million phone lines, 234,000 DSL subscribers, and 600,000 long-distance customers will be moved to FairPoint in Verizon's effort to shed its low-margin lines in rural areas. The sale has been rumored since the summer at least. With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"
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Verizon Sells Off Rural Lines

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  • What happens? (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:20PM (#17634424) Homepage Journal
    With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"

    They get better service?

    Big telcos like Verizon tend to focus on large population areas first, because that's where the money is. Which means that the major cities get more options and better service while Bob Newhart over in Middlebury, Vermont can forget about ever getting Fiber service. In fact, I'd guess that the sale of the rural lines in these areas are being done specifically so that Verizon doesn't have to deploy FiOS [wikipedia.org] as promised.

    In comparison, a small company like Fairpoint is going to have to focus on the customers they've got. Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.
    • For the last decade or so, small telcos have been bought up by the likes of Verizon. I know just a town over this had happened only last year.

      Now, rather than being in the mentality of conglomeration, they're improving profit margins. Eh, it's all business dealings.

      I agree with the parent though, this will not hurt, if not greatly benefit, the customers in those areas, despite not having FiOS "guaranteed."

      • by thepotoo (829391)
        There's no customers to hurt.
        I live on a PAVED ROAD (laugh, but it's rare in the area mentioned) less than EIGHT MILES from Montpelier, Vermont. It's a fairly major route, and a several hundred people live on it between me and Montpelier.
        I've been on the waiting list for high-speed internet since 2001. I'm still stuck on dial-up (on the upside, the state does provide that for free to us). I don't know anyone, outside major population centers (8k+ people) who can get DSL or better.

        And I can't see the sit

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jackjumper (307961)
          It's too bad. I live in Bolton, in the Champlain Valley Telecom area. They've been great - I've had DSL for over five years, and I'm running about 3.5mbit download speeds right now. If I call tech support, I get someone in Hinesburg. I can't say enough good things about them. Having a local telecom company that owns their own equipment is key.

          So will this new deal help? Who knows...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MollyB (162595)
          I live in Marshfield, VT, and I have been well-served by FairPoint for years. I've had a DSL connection for over a year, and the speed keeps increasing at no extra costs.

          The few times decades ago I was serviced by NYNEX (now Verizon) and it sucked. You'll be much better off with FairPoint, in my experience.
        • by PaxTech (103481)
          I'm still stuck on dial-up (on the upside, the state does provide that for free to us).

          It's not free. Someone is paying for it, possibly not you, but someone is. TANSTAAFL.
          • by thepotoo (829391)
            Everyone who lives in Vermont pays taxes. So its not free, but close. Google "GovNET".
        • by gerf (532474)
          My sister lives in Indiana about 1 mile from a city of 11,000 people. She can't get cable or DSL either. In fact, they haven't even upgraded the switchboards for DSL there, except for one in the middle of the city.
        • I knew folks in Montpelier and Plainfield who were talking about some sort of cantenna-based telco coop way back in the late nineties. Did that ever get attempted? Do you think that it will now?
        • Major population center? Hah.

          Try this one. I lived within 20 miles of a city of FOUR MILLION and couldn't get DSL. So I moved across the ocean. :)

    • by Alaren (682568)

      Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

      I was actually going to respond to the question with "Co-Ops, of course" but with bought-and-paid-for state legislatures across the country doing everything they can to make internet co-ops illegal in favor of telcos et al, that may not be an option. I hope for their sakes that the people affected by this deal do get better service, but historically speaking it's a coin toss. The real quest

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Vermont already has CoOps and municipal internet. Burlington Telecom [burlingtontelecom.net] provides FTTP over which they serve voice, television, and data.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        Last time I checked what they were trying to outlaw was not co-ops (a co-op is just a business that's held by the employees, which you can't make illegal without screwing up a lot of other bogus legal constructs that corporations use to deflect blame from themselves, or funnel money around) but government-operated ISPs. Anyone can start a co-op any time, and if you really want to change the world, you should do just that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Zuato (1024033)
      If their service is like Verizon's in Ohio, they'll be better off with the smaller carrier. A few years back I had to argue with them to get them to fix noise on my line. They repeatedly told me over and over that there was no noise on my line until the fifth time I called the person on the other end could hear it. This went on for two weeks. Turns out a rather costly piece of equipment was going belly up in their switching station one block away from my apartment. The technician stopped by and apologized
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by qbwiz (87077) *
      As a counterpoint, the central office that we get phone service from is operated by D&E. Most of the ones surrounding us are operated by Verizon. We pay $45 a month for 512Kbps down, 256 kbps up DSL, while you can get 768 Kbps down DSL from Verizon for $20/month. I suspect that it'll be quite a while until we get FTTP. One advantage of larger companies like Verizon is that they have enough capital to do these big projects, which smaller phone companies, like ours, can't match.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Firehed (942385)
      Well, as a Vermont resident, this wouldn't surprise me. Of course, plenty of the state is nothing but Bumfuckville where costs to deploy proper internet connections would be insane. My aunt, for example, in Braintree - absolute middle of nowhere with incredibly low population density and the only internet options being dial-up and supremely overpriced satellite. Neither cable nor DSL is an option for her, while both are a choice for me in Williston where we actually have people (and, more importantly, pe
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by otis wildflower (4889)
      They get better service?

      Possibly, but it'll probably get more expensive...

      In comparison, a small company like Fairpoint is going to have to focus on the customers they've got. Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

      Not a lot of telco-heads out in farm country, the skills are either not there or are already fully-employed elsewhere. Also, depending on the state, this is legally tedious.

      Nope, rural folk will probably just get jacked
      • There is a lot more than just farm country in the areas you describe. And a lot more high tech people than you can imagine. I live in Maine and I was the 40th person on the east coast to get high-speed internet via cable. Those were the days.
    • Those waiting on a phone, those waiting on a dialtone!
    • a small company like Fairpoint is going to have to focus on the customers they've got. Which means either making them happy, or losing the business to local Co-Ops setup to provide the missing services.

      It's interesting that you mention Co-ops. I've heard/read good things from people who have Co-op telecom providers.

      It seems to me that we could eliminate many of the 'Big Telco' problems that people complain about by simply making the only part of the system that is a monopoly be the connection between the C

    • Verizon has been aggressively rolling out FiOS in southern New Hampshire, for months. I don't think that will all evaporate as soon as FairPoint takes ownership. Disposing of value added infrastructure would just be dumb.
    • At least around here, Fairpoint has incredibly slow speeds for very high prices. In those areas where they have a "natural monopoly", they offer 768/256 for $45/month, or 1.5/512 for $99/month. Right down the road, in the next town over, you have a choice between Verizon, One Communications, or the cable company. Verizon is $39 for 3.0/768, One Communications is $35 for 5.0/768 or so, and the Cable company is $50 for 3.0/256.

      Fairpoint is nothing more than a conglomerate company, formerly MJD, that buys s
  • by TheGreek (2403)
    With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?
    We'll get hosed.
    • Not necessarily.

      I used to live up in Maine, and while the big-name telco and cablecos wouldn't even dream about rolling out FIOS to most markets there, some local companies were. In particular, there was a local operation in Lewiston that was out, running fiber all over the place. I have no idea where they got their capital, but it was a local business with a huge office downtown, and a pretty rapid deployment plan.

      I'm almost positive it was these guys: http://www.oxfordnetworks.com/

      Let's face it; if you're
      • by TheGreek (2403)

        I used to live up in Maine, and while the big-name telco and cablecos wouldn't even dream about rolling out FIOS to most markets there, some local companies were.

        Great. I still do. In the "other" Maine, even. Time Warner sells fibre connectivity up here, but it costs an arm and a leg. Do they count as "big-name" for you?

        Let's face it; if you're not in a major market, then you aren't worth two squirts to a major national carrier. At least with a regional company, they're going to have some reason to pay

  • They're screwed. They will, probably, keep whatever DSL they may have, or dial-up, but no FIOS for them. If they're lucky (for suitably large definitions of 'luck'), they'll be able to get high speed service from their local cable provider.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      They will, probably, keep whatever DSL they may have, or dial-up, but no FIOS for them.

      And there was never going to be any FIOS for them with Verizon. At least with a regional company, customer service will probably be better (I mean, unless they come to your house and actually beat you with a stick, it can't possibly be worse), and they'll have a better chance of getting new technologies as soon as it's technically and economically feasible in the area.
    • Clearwire and its compatriots have huge potential markets in rural areas. Compare: crappy DSL at 768kbit/sec (or less) vs 1.5mbit clearwire wireless. Also, Satellite internet is always an option anywheres you are. You can usually speeds around 384kbit or so down and uplink for around 80$. Combine that with a good VoIP service, and voila! Instant internet/telephone from Nevada desert to Vermont backwoods.
      • 384kbit downlink, and a slower uplink. But, both through the dish
      • I've been under the impression that the latency in satellite internet is too high to handle something like VOIP. Has the technology improved, or have I just been mistaken the whole time?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You might be suprised. Some rural areas could end up getting fiber. I did firmware development on one of the products Verizon is using to roll out its FiOS service. At the time, sales was telling us engineers that there was actually a lot of interest coming from the smaller providers in rural areas. Why? Because of the line lengths.

      In rural areas where the population is really spread out, it doesn't make sense to have everyone connected directly to a central office. You can only run copper so far. S

  • what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?"
    It's just a short-term stopgap until Ma Bell gets around to buying back that particular piece of herself.
  • by 'nother poster (700681) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:22PM (#17634458)
    I don't know anything about FairPoint, but when I went to a small 13,000 household telco my service improved greatly. Prices went up a bit, but only a few percent and my service has been great.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:22PM (#17634462)
    ...what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint


    Not sure, but do you know any "larger telcos" that do anything but s*** on their residential customers? My best experiences with phone and data services have been with "regional" providers; the only reason I gave up my last one was that I moved to an area where the only two choices were AT&T and Charter (lose lose).
  • Smart move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:24PM (#17634506) Homepage
    This means they anticipate a Democratic-leaning FCC in the coming years. By creating structural seperation for the markets where they don't want to roll out FiOS, they insulate themselves from the impact of a ruling to the effect that they have to roll out service in an equitable manner.
    • Since it's far cheaper per customer to provide service to dense areas but existing laws are designed to equalize service costs to rural customers, the question is really about all sorts of legislative changes. For example, if current subsidies end, then the rural areas could become suddenly (more) unprofitable.

      It's just as you say, but there's more than one way revenue in rural areas is legislatively unstable.

      Personally, I think rural areas shouldn't be treated any different legislatively than anyone else.
      • by Spazmania (174582)
        existing laws are designed to equalize service costs to rural customers

        If the universal service fee applied to the delivery of any sort of telecommunications infrastructure service (instead of just POTS and POTS-related services), Verizon would fall all over itself to deliver FiOS to rural areas. Instead, the USF was shanghaied to pay for computers in rural schools.

        So: congratualtions rural areas. You made us city folk pay for your kids' computers this past decade but you destroyed the USF in the pricess so
    • by tgd (2822)
      Its not just going forward, my understanding is they're already battling that in New Hampshire. In the wealthy southern edge of New Hampshire, we've had FIOS in some towns for a year or more. (I'm just about to hit a year here)

      When talking to a tech recently about when we might see TV service here, as they have it now in a good number of MA communities, I was told that Verizon was fighting pretty hard with NH and that was holding up any further development state wide -- I guess NH told them they couldn't do
    • What is interesting is that apparently in this "spin-off", they are unloading debt, receiving roughly $2.7b or so, and Verizon will retain 60% ownership of this new company. It is actually a fairly strategic way to insulate yourself from any rulings that you suggest and yet still retain influential control of the market. http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2007/01/ver i zon_to_spin.html [boston.com]
      • by isdnip (49656)
        Verizon does not end up with any shares in the company. The deal is that Verizon's shareholders will get Fairpoint shares. So it's a spinoff more than a sale, with little Fairpoint managing it for the shareholders. And no doubt some clever tax accounting tricks going on. From the press release (read way down, on the Fairpoint web site):

        Upon the closing of the transaction, Verizon stockholders will own approximately 60 percent of the new company, and FairPoint stockholders will own approximately 40 perce

  • Oh, lovely! (Score:5, Funny)

    by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton@NOSpaM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:27PM (#17634594) Homepage Journal
    Great! Now I'll have to go all the way to Fairpoint Station to pay my bill. That's way out in the boonies!
    • Great! Now I'll have to go all the way to Fairpoint Station to pay my bill. That's way out in the boonies!

      Not to mention you could be put on trial for humanity's crimes, by an omnipotent super-being.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      But hey - you'll get all the delicious apples you'd ever want!
  • Wimax (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bstadil (7110) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:27PM (#17634606) Homepage
    Wimax is perfect for rural areas and a smaller telco can much easier make deal with various suppliers for test cases. Intel would be a perfect choice since they are already spending billions on Wimax.
    • In certain areas. Here in southern Indiana it's hilly enough that even a cell tower can't reach more than a few miles (usually 10 or less) in any direction. WiMax isn't likely to do much better.
  • Nothing. Verizon wasn't rolling out shit. They keep advertising DSL, even though its barely available. "Its cheaper then cable" Great. It could be zero dollars for all I care, I can't get it, my parents can't get it, my wife's parents can't get it, my sister can't get it, etc, etc. I lived in the most populated area of Vermont up until last year, and I couldn't get DSL. I don't know this new company is, but they couldn't possibly do any crappier a job of rolling out DSL then Verizon was.

    And fiber? Yeah righ
    • I know a number of people with DSL in Chittenden County, including one in Fairfax... it's more a matter of how far you are from some hardware dohickey than how populated your area is.

      And I could definitely have it in Burlington, but I use cable instead. I haven't used Verizon since I canceled my local phone service in favor of my cell, which is about 20% cheaper per month.
    • Sounds like the "early" days of DSL service here in Canada. DSL had a range of about 3km from the CO, provided that the CO was correctly outfitted. Most communities weren't close enough to an upgraded CO when DSL service was first offered, so cable got really popular for broadband. Most network-savvy people quickly realized that cable companies are teh sux0r when it comes to Internet service, so switched to DSL as soon as it was available in their area.

      However, unlike the United States, Canada has laws that
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        However, unlike the United States, Canada has laws that forced Telcos to eventually upgrade all the COs, regardless of what they felt the market would actually be in a particular area.

        Pacific Bell (now SBC's West Coast operation) had plans to put DSL out there to all of their customers at one point.

        Unfortunately, besides the usual monetary bullshit (aka graft) Pac Bell got nailed by the FCC for having unreliable DSL and they started getting fined every time someone had DSL connectivity problems. As a

  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:37PM (#17634812) Homepage Journal
    If anything, this could make it that much better. Verizon ignored those area because they have a much higer density (therefore more potential customers per mile) in urban/suburban areas. Now with those people under a more local telecom, the company doesn't have to focus on anything but those local customers. And it's not like there's no competition. Satellite broadband is there, even though it's probably expensive, and who knows what kind of wireless broadband might be available. (I don't live up there so I don't know.) So, the new company should be far more aware of customer service than Verizon ever will be.

    It's rather presumptuous to assume that the customers will be let out to dry just because the big, bad Verizon is leaving.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spacefrog (313816)
      I've had Fairpoint in the past, and I feel sorry for these people. Where I used to live, here is what they charge [fairpoint.com]. These people may not get it as bad, but Fairpoint and Value do not go together. $69 for 1.5/512. OUCH.
      • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:31PM (#17635984) Homepage
        You know why they pay $69? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT COSTS!

        It is a mistake to warp economics so that all customers pay the same price even though some customers cost far more to serve than others. If the telco company has to run and service two miles of cable to provide service to you but only has to run and service 100 feet of cable to provide service to me, you should pay more than I do.
        • by spacefrog (313816)
          It COSTS $35.00 MORE to provide a 1.5 megabit line as it does to provide a 256Kbit line using the same technology? Really? What exactly are you smoking?

          I never said everybody should pay the same, I said that Fairpoint has very high prices as opposed to their competition, even in the same area. Thankfully when I lived in their service area, I had the option of using cable for a fraction of the price, which I took advantage of.
        • by kindbud (90044)
          It is a mistake to warp economics so that all customers pay the same price even though some customers cost far more to serve than others. If the telco company has to run and service two miles of cable to provide service to you but only has to run and service 100 feet of cable to provide service to me, you should pay more than I do.

          And if the community where the phone company gets an easement for their lines doesn't like that policy, they can withdraw the use of public land for the private lines.

          RIGHT?
        • by AK Marc (707885)
          It is a mistake to warp economics so that all customers pay the same price even though some customers cost far more to serve than others.

          Not according to the economists that advised the government. What is the value of a telephone (presuming today's ubiquitous coverage)? Let's say it's $20 per line. Now, what's the value of the same phone line if 20% of the population, being in the high cost areas, were to elect to not have a phone? The value would decrease because fewer people could be reached. The
      • I've had Fairpoint in the past, and I feel sorry for these people. Where I used to live, here is what they charge [fairpoint.com]. These people may not get it as bad, but Fairpoint and Value do not go together. $69 for 1.5/512. OUCH.

        I'm one of the affected Verizon customers and right now we pay $25 for 26.4. Kbps. We're not on the Verizon upgrade plan that runs through 2014.
    • Latency's evil. Bandwidth's not all that great either. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharpened stick, but not by a lot.
      • by AntEater (16627)
        Satellite may not be great, but it's a LOT better than dialup which is my only other option where I live (very rural Vermont). I I do find it interesting that Verizon is trying to get rid of us. I feel like they've not had much interest in providing internet serivce out here so it's certainly no loss in my eyes. I've had satellite service with wildblue.net for almost a year now. I got tired of waiting for DLS or cable service which is still nowhere near reaching me. It is reasonable for my needs. I do
  • Verizon announced that they are finally going to offer DSL to all customers south of Indianapolis in Indiana. We have no option for DSL, FIOS, cable (TV or internet) or anything like that. DSL will be a welcome change but I doubt if a smaller company would have the capital to handle the setup. There is a lot of open area here. People are spread apart and don't really live in communities or subdivisions.

    FIOS isn't even on the radar. The nearest FIOS option is Louisville, KY, about 30mi southwest.
  • So explain this: people complain about Verizon in so many ways: big evil corporation, doesn't care about the customer, rapes you on unnecessary fees and services, crappy service, etc. Verizon gives up market share by selling their piece of the pie in a bunch of areas to a smaller company. So big bad evil company goes away, and now people complain that the little (well, smaller anyway) guy is back in town? WTF do you really want? Yes, yes I know, welcome to Slashdot....
    • About five years ago, my first DSL company was Verizon, and I had a tech problem that I had to solve for them because they didn't do sh!t about it. So, I left. (I will admit, however, that the tech who installed the line recognized that I'm a geek and that I had a LAN in place, so he rigged up the outside box so that I didn't need any line filters in my house at all.) After going through a few other DSL providers who were either crap or gave up on DSL, I went to Comcast. God! What a mistake. Don't get
    • Look up a few posts to the two hundred billion dollars in government money that Verizon and friends got from the government for promising to do just exactly what they're now weaseling out of doing. Note, btw, that they still own the majority of Fairpoint so this is all handwaving beynd a certain level. But, as was pointed out a little further up, it is a very effective way to avoid having to kep their promises.

      Verizon gets vast favors from government, many of them on the grounds of being the carrier of last
  • It's really the only proposition that works economically for remote locations. I used to live in central NY - one day I got a 'free cable installation' coupon in the mailbox so I called the cable company. They sent out a cable guy who looked at my end of the line two miles from the nearest neighbor electrical service and well we got an example of the meaning of ROTFL.

    I've since moved away from that location and now live in the NYC metro exurb where I can get 30/5 cable internet. I'd bet the people who bough
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      Satellite is crap. The VSAT people give you like 3GB/mo. That's fucking worthless, I can't even use it for business two days a week with a three gigabyte cap. Skyblue has no capacity out here and hughes wants like $110/mo for their lowest level of service now, and I've heard from numerous people who have gotten capped on their service as well. Like it or not the satellites simply cannot handle a useful amount of traffic. It would be far more effective to just put up a bunch of autonomous wifi repeater blimp
  • by markhb (11721) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:49PM (#17635112) Journal
    Maine Governor John Baldacci (D) has commented [maine.gov] on the proposed selloff. As is his wont, the comment said absolutely nothing.
  • by nysus (162232) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:55PM (#17635240)
    Unions are fighting this one because it will mean a further decline in wages in the industry if all those workers go non-union. That's bad for everyone if the rich keep getting richer. See http://stop-the-sale.org/ [stop-the-sale.org] for their arguments.
  • With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?

    FairPoint isn't a "small" telco, it's actually fairly big one, just not in the large Baby Bell category. The customers will get exactly the same service they have now - unfortunately. In my area, which is extremely rural, the company providing phone service has changed hands several times over the past decade. Each time, the sam

  • by joetheguy (1048262) <joe@jannino. c o m> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:08PM (#17635496)
    In Burlington, Vermont's largest city, they already have a municipal fiber optic network.

    The City of Burlington, like many other small cities and towns around the USA, has decided to ensure that all of Burlington's citizens and business have the up-to-date telecommunication services they need by building a municipally owned 21st century fiber optic infrastructure.
    http://www.burlingtontelecom.net/aboutus [burlingtontelecom.net]

    Vermonters often prefer local smaller business, cooperatives, and the like, to the national chains and providers. They do an excellent job up there of doing things their own way. Having FairPoint instead of Verizon will hopefully mean a telco that will work more closely with local government to provide innovate services that reach everyone. The big telcos have fought against things like municpal networks in the past. I don't think they will be missed.
  • by vtcodger (957785) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:09PM (#17635522)
    ***With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?" ***

    Rural customers in Vermont couldn't get DSL from Bell Atlantic. And they still can't now that the bills have a Verison logo on them. Oddly, they can get DSL from some of the smaller local providers -- notably Waitsfield Telecom which is pretty much the poster child for usable rural broadband for customers in its service area in the Central part of the state.

    Unless the Vermont Public Service Commission suddenly grows some balls -- something they've never shown much sign of having -- I imagine that things will get worse, not better with this sale. The governor says that broadband is one of his priorities. But IMO he's a political hack -- mostly mouth. OTOH, occasionally I'm pleasantly suprised. Maybe Jim Douglas or the next governor or the one after that will take some meaningful action.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Radon360 (951529)

      I wouldn't necessarily keep looking to the telcos for broadband access. It seems to me that there's an increasing number of options to the consumers, including more rural areas. If you can't get DSL, then what about cable (there's more of it strung up in the countryside than most people realize)? If you can't get cable, what about satellite? If satellite is too expensive, someone might be offering WiMax. I know where I live in semi-rural Wisconsin, there are several companies that have established a

  • by supabeast! (84658) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:15PM (#17635642)
    With Verizon aggressively rolling out high-speed FiOS (FTTP) in its service area, what will happen to the consumers stuck with a smaller telco like those moving to FairPoint?


    Our crooked semi-socialist government will do same thing for internet connectivity that was done for voice connectivity. Residents of rural America with cry and whinge about how it isn't fair that they don't get the same service everyone else gets, and demand that they get at the same price. Eventually one of their Congressmen will introduce a bill requiring phone companies to pool a portion of their profits and use it to supply broadband to needy people in rural areas. The phone companies will get their Congressmen to amend the bill to instead charge everyone in the country with internet access a monthly fee and that money will be used to provide broadband to the backward hicks who want to live in the middle of nowhere and still enjoy the comforts of civilization. And everyone in America will continue the slow grind towards our eventual slavery to the wants of others.
    • Not everyone who lives in a rural are is a "backward hick", not even close. I like living where I sit outside and watch animals walk through my backyard, or where I can pop out the telescope and not have to worry about light pollution. How about being able to grow my own vegetables and not be tied to the supermarket. Sorry, but nature > man made civilization.

      In short, STFU.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think the rural areas should just shut the water off to the big cities for a week as a test case and renegotiate the "socialist" water you receive at highly subsidised rates. How would you superior advanced urbanites like to pay
      "what the free market will bear" for your tap water? Ten a gallon sound OK to you? Or do you have your own personal water well in the basement of your condo? Then the rural folks could afford some things better if we ended the urban socialist subsidy.. Oh, food? let's do the same w
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Buelldozer (713671)
      THIS resident of "Rural America" would like you to know that Wyoming coal provides better than 30% of the electrical generation for the East Coast. Without the infrastructure necessary to support the mines and the people to work them how exactly would your precious city run?

      You're a typical city dweller. You look down your nose at any one who lives outside the city but fail to realize that without us rural people your city wouldn't be possible.

      You can't feed yourselves, you can't provide your own water, you
  • That would make me happy.

    Half of the time I am getting 5Kb/s. That is cable for you.
  • by mxpengin (516866) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:29PM (#17635940) Homepage
    This is why, sometimes monopolies are something not so bad, it depends on the country where you live. Here in Japan NTT is a virtual monopoly for landlines, but I am in a semi-rural area and I have fiber-to-home.
    In Mexico Telmex is also a virtual monopoly, the prices suck and the technology as well, but you can use DSL more less in all simu-rural areas.
    Same policies for all the country. In general I hate monopolies but this is one of the few good points on them.
  • ... and I can't even get Verizon's DSL (20K ft. from CO) and FIOS. :(
  • Verizon: We never start working for you!
  • Has anyone seen a FIOS map? Verizon doesn't seem to have one on their site. I'd like to see where they currently have it, and ideally where they are expanding.
    • by tedgyz (515156) *
      I can't give you a map, but I know someone in Hudson, NH who just got it installed.

      This makes me wonder if Verizon will continue to roll out FIOS in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Perhaps they are just giving up the copper-wire infrastructure. If so, that would be pretty sleazy. Sell off a low-margin business and then compete with it.
  • What... rip up the planet earth again to run a bunch of lines that barely will bring in enough cash to ex-suburbanites when they already have access to decent-speed broadband in most cases (or can get DirectWay).

    e.g. my area:

    If you really want FIOS real bad and want it now--you can move to Philadelphia and get it. It's going in the urban core and the inner suburbs... the outer McMansions in the country probably will never get it.
  • We're the one for you, New England, Fairpoint Telecommunications...

    Nope, doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
  • Verizon is hurting. It costs more to provide service to rural areas than it does to provide it in urban areas. Has to do with outside plant and equipment costs.

    Add the fact that Verizon has lost approximately 1/3 of their urban business testifies to the fact that they're not exactly a stable company. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

    I always said that Verizon et al wanted to live by their tariffs, well they can die by them too.
  • Goodbye Service! (Score:5, Informative)

    by buka1337 (1052162) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @08:00PM (#17638520)
    For those who know nothing about FairPoint Communications. Their strategy is to buy up markets that no one else wants to serve and operate them for as cheaply as possible. Quality of Service will not go up...it will go down in a huge way. I work in one of their tech support call centers. We used to be their exclusive tech support for all of their subscribers, however their service was so bad it was costing us money since we have a standard monthly billing, we ended up telling to them to take a hike. One market had about 60% of their subscribers calling in every month. Every time it rained everyone lost sync on their modem. That properties' tech support has been outsourced overseas. The worst Fairpoint property my company still handles has 976 subs. We plan for 390 of those calling in each month. Our overall average for Fairpoint companies is about 25% of their customers calling in for internet support each month.
  • That explains why they completely pulled out of the FIOS installs in New Hampshire. They where half way thru Nashua when they suddenly stopped doing new installs, and left over half of Nashua unupdated.

PLUG IT IN!!!

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