Rural Customers Reliant On Landlines Face Challenging Future

Jul 20, 2017

It should come as no surprise that the use of landline phones in the U.S. keeps dropping. But for residents of remote parts of Vermont, landlines can be essential.

In May, the CDC reported that for the first time, a slim majority of Americans only use a cell phone.

In Vermont, only 30 percent of residents rely solely on cell phones. In areas where cell service is spotty or nonexistent, rural customers still depend on landlines and there are a lot of pressures and uncertainty for the future of their phone service.

Terri Hallenbeck reported on this issue for the latest edition of Seven Days. In her article, Hallenbeck recounts a meeting with a landline customer in Canaan, Vermont who went to the end of her half-mile long driveway and plugged a phone into a service box to prove a point to her landline service provider. For that customer, service has improved recently, but there's no guarantee it will stay that way.

Hallenbeck spoke to VPR's Henry Epp. Listen to their full conversation above.