Monday, October 16, 2017

Tell Verizon Wireless: Stop dropping rural customers!

trying to get cell phone coverage
TOMORROW, October 17, Verizon Wireless plans on dropping 8500 customers with 19000 lines across 13 states – all because they live in rural areas.1

Verizon says these customers use “too much data,” on roaming networks. So rather than honor the plans they sold these customers, or further build out their own network, Verizon is dropping them like a bad habit.

That’s not just bad business, it’s dangerous. For many of these rural customers, their wireless plan is the only way they have access to the internet, and more importantly, to emergency services.

Tell Verizon Wireless: Stop dropping rural customers!

In the last few years, Verizon Wireless partnered with firms around the country to expand wireless service in rural areas. Companies like Portland, Maine-based Wireless Partners built dozens of new towers to improve service in rural dead spots.2

Verizon then offered unlimited data plans to lure new rural customers. But once Verizon realized the cost of data for these customers was more than they expected, they decided to cut them off.

Tell Verizon Wireless: Cell service is a necessary lifeline in remote areas. Stop dropping rural customers!

This type of behavior from service providers is exactly why we need Title II net neutrality, and why we cannot trust Big Cable, ISPs, and wireless providers to police themselves.

The state of Maine, whose citizens make up a large share of the customers about to lose service, bent over backwards to induce Verizon Wireless to improve service in its rural areas.

In 2015, the Finance Authority of Maine insured, at the public’s expense, a $3.4 million loan for Wireless Partners, LLC to build out Verizon’s 4G LTE network with up to 32 towers in underserved counties.3

Now the Maine countryside has towers its local residents soon won't be able to use, and the taxpayers of Maine are left holding the bag for the loan that funded their construction.

But there is still time to stop this. Up until now the backlash has been limited to the areas affected by Verizon’s purge. If we can show that people across the country are outraged that paying customers can be summarily dropped just because of where they live, we can get Verizon Wireless to reverse their decision.

Sign our petition. Tell Verizon Wireless to reverse its plan to drop thousands of rural customers.

Thanks for taking a stand,

- Carli Stevenson. Demand Progress

1. ARS Technica, “8,500 Verizon customers disconnected because of “substantial” data use,” September 15, 2017.
2. Bangor Daily News, “Verizon Wireless terminating service for 2,000 cellphone customers in Washington County,” September 12, 2017.
3. Stop the Cap, “Verizon Wireless' Great Rural Purge: Tens of thousands losing service,” September 14, 2017.

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