WASHINGTON – Following a call from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill for Verizon to reverse course on its plan to drop nearly 8,500 rural customers nationally—including approximately 400 Missourians—from access to wireless broadband service within 30 days, Verizon has announced it will allow affected customers who want to stay with Verizon to do so after changing service plans, and allow more time for those who wish to leave the carrier altogether to do so.
“This is the right call on a decision that was outrageous from the start,” McCaskill said. “Broadband service is a critical lifeline to rural Missouri—whether it’s keeping businesses running, or allowing families to stay in touch, and I’m glad the company listened to our call to step back from the ledge. But I’ll continue fighting to ensure all Missourians have access to the affordable, reliable, broadband and wireless services they depend on.”
In a recent letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam prior to their decision, McCaskill pointed out that, “Customers were reportedly notified by Verizon that they will no longer be able to use Verizon Wireless services because they have been using a significant amount of data while roaming off the Verizon Wireless network. Many of these customers have signed up for unlimited data plans, but are being kicked off of their plans for using too much data… I encourage Verizon to take these customers’ needs into consideration and do everything it can to ensure these rural consumers’ access to vital internet service is not interrupted.”
McCaskill, a longtime advocate for improving access to affordable, reliable forms of communication in small towns and rural communities, recently backed bipartisan legislation to ensure Missourians in rural communities receive reliable and affordable phone call quality. Additionally, McCaskill introduced the Community Broadband Act to improve internet access in rural communities by protecting the rights of localities—which often face significant cost and other barriers—to build municipal broadband networks.
Last month, McCaskill held a roundtable with federal and local officials to discuss the importance of rural broadband. Currently, more than 60 percent of Missourians in rural areas do not have broadband access