The article states that Congresses goal of 100 percent broadband access can't be met if big corporations aren't helped out. Helped out in this case mean's abandoning rural grandparents who can't afford $100 a month cable bill and simply want to be able to talk to their kids and police in an emergency.
Why on Earth do American corporations need assistance to do what is incredibly profitable. Providing broadband at huge monthly bills? Why is it that every other technologically advanced nation has 100 percent broadband, normally at cheaper rates, and big corporations like AT&T have to go to the government hat in hand for "help." This when they can't even provide proper service in the biggest city in the USA when they have an exclusive right to the iPhone and charge a fortune for the honor?
If AT&T isn't interested in maintaining land lines, they should spin off that part of their company and let someone else charge for POTS (plain old telephone service). I'm sure there are other company's that can make a handsome profit running that declining, but still profitable utility. But what does AT&T want? They want to continue to charge an aging customer base while neglecting service. They want to gradually cut off the less profitable areas, were people need the service the most, and keep the cash cows on life support while bumbling into broadband. Oh, and they want the right to tell grandma she has to switch to cable because they're shutting down her phone line.
Someone in government really needs to rap AT&T on the knuckles on this one.