said by cramer:
You do realize the money telco's collect for USF never leaves their hands, right?
Providing copper... yes, that stuff is expensive. Maintaining it, however, is an almost zero cost item (on average... telcos in hurricane prone areas aside.) While people do dig it up and pull it off poles, they charge those people for repairs. How much is it costing you to maintain the wiring (phone, power, data, etc.) in your house? Zero, or pretty close to it. It doesn't wear out or "go bad" unless it's been physically damaged.
Actually this isn't really true. Verizon and AT&T allowed their landline networks to go to pot in a lot of states and we're dealing with the results. Those two companies in particular are a real mess in non-FiOS/U-verse areas. WV was a decrepit disaster when Frontier bought it (not that they are going to spend a ton of money to fix it all). What keeps things going are the number of customers leaving. Customers on bad pairs can be moved to an ex-landline customer's line until the cable completely falls apart.
USF funding -is- wasted in places, partly on inflated administrative costs and restrictive language that keeps companies using it inefficiently.
Companies won't spend the money to trash the outdated copper network in favor of fiber because of the lengthy return on investment and the dwindling number of wired landline customers left. They'd have to win them back.--
Phillip M. Dampier
Editor, Stop the Cap!