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Montana was Being Treated Unfairly by Verizon

Last week the news was announced that Verizon customers in Montana who lived in rural areas might lose their cell phone coverage. Verizon said the plan that many rural Montana customers had wasn’t profitable anymore.

Listeners to my show Dominick In The Morning got upset because I wasn’t following the conservative viewpoint. The viewpoint is that a business owes nothing to its customers, and if they can’t make a profit it’s okay to do something that might hurt people. The conservative view is that as a business owner your duty is only to yourself. If you want to help people, give to charity, but don’t force a company to do something it doesn’t want to.

My point was Verizon is making so much money they had a duty to give back. They should serve some of the customers in places they would not make a big profit. The idea is something I learned about broadcasting. To have a TV station or radio station, you have to get a license from the government. If everyone who wanted a broadcast station could just start one, it meant the airways would be flooded and no station could exist. Ten companies would be broadcasting on AM 1450 and no station could be heard.

So, in the beginning, the U.S. government formed the Federal Communications Commission to regulate everything. So if they gave you a broadcasting license they demanded you do some public service. So every rock, country, sports, jazz, talk station had to do news and public service.

Stations lost money having a radio news department, but the FCC said you’re making so much money the stations have to give back. They had to provide service to the community. During the Reagan administration that was stopped and most radio and TV stations cut back dramatically on public service.

I thought the government should require Verizon to keep that service up for rural Montanans.

It has just been announced that Congressman Greg Gianforte has managed to get Verizon to overturn its decision to drop coverage for its rural Montana customers.

“Verizon’s decision to reverse its plan to cancel contracts and leave hundreds of Montanans without cell service is a win for our communities,” Gianforte said. “Folks shouldn’t be left without this critical service they rely on, particularly in our rural areas. It’s a fundamental issue of safety.”

While not demanding businesses to put profits aside and provide more services to people is not really something conservatives agree with, our Republican conservative congressman managed to talk some sense into the billion dollar company. More and more Montanans were calling Washington. Maybe the government should make a law… a law. I think that scared the cell company.

Verizon has suddenly decided to reconsider its decision.


Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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