I don't think xDSL can catch them -- that's the problem with continuing to invest in this tech without at least pushing fiber deeper into their territory and serving everyone
with something vs. just those fortunate enough to be within a mile of where they stopped.
Spectrum might no longer be the issue:
»White Space Broadband Deployed in California
Copper also continues to age and it's going to get crazy expensive to maintain given fewer and fewer POTS customers remain to share that cost. I'd be considering alternatives such as wireless. Maybe it's too costly but if you reliably can reach a mile from the DSLAM and reuse that same spectrum at another DSLAM three miles away...maybe it would be an affordable stop-gap that allows them to continue to push fiber deeper and split nodes (just like cable). Perhaps at the half-mile mark and continued wireless advances, they would remain competitive. Obviously the goal would be fiber all the way but this might be a path that allows them to eat the elephant a bite at a time while also offering a potential off-load for mobile customers. The mobile off-load could also generate revenue by becoming a monthly fee that doesn't affect their 4G data cap (or at least has a separate cap).