Culture

Verizon to Dump 8,500 Unprofitable Customers in Rural Areas

(Photo by: Frank Duenzl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

If you live out in the country and have been taking advantage of Verizon’s “LTE in Rural America” program or their “unlimited plan,” your service might be on the chopping block. Thousands of customers living in rural areas across 13 states will need to find a new cellular service before Verizon cuts them off on October 17.

Verizon has sent out notices to 8,500 customers that the nationwide cellular provider will disconnect 19,000 phone lines in parts of Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin because large roaming fees have made these customers unprofitable. If you’re a Verizon customer who doesn’t live in or near a large city, you may have already read the following statement in the mail:

During a recent review of customer accounts, we discovered you are using a significant amount of data while roaming off the Verizon Wireless network. While we appreciate you choosing Verizon, after October 17, 2017, we will no longer offer service for the numbers listed above since your primary place of use is outside the Verizon service area.

Verizon has not offered alternate options for rural customers to remain with the company and the mid-October deadline is quickly approaching. Customers will need to sign up with a different cellular provider soon, or else they may be unable to transfer their current number to their new service. At the very least, Verizon is canceling current service charges and the balances of financed phones to help make the move easier, but the options for rural customers hoping for a similar data plan and coverage in their area may be slim.

Not every Verizon customer living in these areas will get the boot, but the mobile service seems more than willing to drop heavy data users in remote parts of the nation in an effort to cut losses. President Trump has pushed for a rural broadband expansion as a part of his recommended $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. “I will be including a provision in our infrastructure proposal — $1 trillion proposal, you’ll be seeing it very shortly — to promote and foster, enhance broadband access for rural America,” Trump has vowed. If it were to pass, perhaps thousands of Americans living in the country wouldn’t have to be concerned about getting the axe from their cellular provider for consuming “too much data” in the near future.