Still Waiting For A Phone Line?

from the not-yet... dept

By this point, most people assume that you can order up a landline anywhere you happen to live in the US. Apparently, that's not true for a few small communities in Louisiana, though that's about to change. While residents have been asking for phone lines for years, its only now that BellSouth has been told by the state's Public Service Commission to make sure residents have service. BellSouth isn't happy about it, claiming that it's costing them nearly $50,000 per resident. Other areas are going to be covered by mobile phones rather than land lines, though, it's worth noting that some residents have found small patches of areas where those ancient analog "bag phones" work. Either way, it's a reminder that some of the technology we now take for granted has been slow to arrive in many places -- even within the US.

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  • identicon
    Steve Mueller, 13 Dec 2004 @ 4:38am

    It's Not That Uncommon

    When I moved to Hollister, CA, about 9.5 years ago, I found that some place still had an old switchboard -style phone company and some places just miles away had no phone service at all.

    A woman who used to work with me at IBM had moved somewhat further south and not only didn't she have phone service, she didn't have electricity, either. She had to run a generator to get power.

    These places are an hour or two south of Silicon Valley.

    My brother, who works at the APS nuclear plant in Arizona, got tired of the commute from Phoenix, so he moved to Tonopah, in the middle of the desert. He also had no electricity or phone service and had to set up his own generator and solar system. I thought it was kind of ironic that somebody who worked for Arizona's electricity company couldn't get wired, but there you go.

    So it's really not all that uncommon, I guess.

    One possibly interesting story about my brother's location. I use ALK's CoPilot Live on my Pocket PC for GPS, and found that my brother's address (or even his "street" -- there aren't paved roads where he lives) wasn't listed. After I drove there, I sent the GPS track to ALK. When I got the next release of the product, I was pleased to find his address listed there, along with streets in the area.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mickster, 13 Dec 2004 @ 7:48am

    SouthBell doesn't want to pay $50,000? We already

    It used to be that the then, $3.50 FCC line charge we all paid was supposed to pay the costs of running lines to rural areas.

    That was the original intention.

    BellSouth may not like that they'll never recoup their $50,000 per line (assuming $100/month phone bill it would take 40 years to cover the costs-without the actual cost of upkeep and actual service used), but they should take some of that cash from the FCC and install those lines!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2004 @ 9:49am

      Re: SouthBell doesn't want to pay $50,000? We alre

      Actually BellSouth should already have the money. The install cost is calculated to balance out inexpensive repeat installs with the rare expensive install, not become more profit in their pockets.
      The average person moves every seven years which means they have collected millions of new service activations where all they did was a thirty second data entry to reactive an existing line.
      Moving reference:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NC, 13 Dec 2004 @ 12:48pm

    Many States have this problem

    In Northeastern Michigan, there are several areas we call white-zones. They are 14 unassigned areas without POTS service. Michigan State University has developed a program with the NorthEastern Michigan Council of Governments (NEMCOG) to work on a project called M-SITE where student interns will work with local entities to bring basic telecommunications services to these communities -- as well as broadband.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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