So if we take the opposite approach, we run Internet service as slow and rickety DSL (which is highly dependent on distance from the telco switch) over the POTS copper. Which would you really prefer?
VDSL2 over POTS copper, leased to a CLEC at rates that are open, published, and available to all on equal terms (ie, if AT&T or Verizon charges themselves $19/month for a dry copper pair, they're required by law to lease it to any CLEC who wants to use it instead for the same $19/month).
With the best VDSL2 available today, 100mbps over two pairs (one for uplink, one for downlink) up to about 2,000 feet is quite do-able... and those are 100mbps that AT&T and Verizon can't fuck with, and are my inalienable right to use as intensively as I want to communicate with my ISP's VDSL2 backplane.
This isn't about un-burdening AT&T and Verizon with obsolete legacy infrastructure. This is about eliminating one of the few remaining back channels that motivated individuals can use to do an end run around them to avoid their metering & caps.
If Verizon wants to deploy ONLY wireless in Mantoloking, fine... let them. But apply the same regulatory standards that applied to POTS to them. Require 10 days of backup power, like the central office had a gigantic array of lead acid batteries to provide them with. Force them to sell unbundled raw IP transit to any CLEC, with the same guaranteed and unmetered throughput that could be achieved via VDSL2, for the same price as unbundled dry copper.
The second part alone would probably stop them dead in their tracks, because the only way they COULD provide guaranteed hundred-megabit throughput (maybe pooled among 2-4 households, max) within the constraints of their spectrum licenses via LTE would be to lay new fiber to all the neighborhoods ANYWAY, and stick a microcell every 4 houses. And prohibit them from charging higher or new fees, so they can't pass off the costs on customers anyway.
If the up-front capital costs of deploying 14,000 fiber-networked picocells across Mantoloking to serve ~40,000 customers didn't stop Verizon in its tracks, the long-term maintenance costs of replacing 14,000 sets of backup batteries capable of supplying power for a week, plus the nontrivial number of picocells that would die due to lightning or ruptured Chinese electrolytic capacitors, *would*. Verizon barely has enough spectrum to feed any one tower site with 50mbps. If they had to potentially supply that much guaranteed sustained throughput to every single customer at the costs they now charge for a dry copper pair, their only option would be to settle for making literally the "last hundred feet" wireless and deploying a brand new fiber-networked nightmare of picocells serving 3-4 customers apiece.
For LESS than what it would cost them to purchase, deploy, and maintain an ungodly huge network with 14,000 fiber-connected neighborhood picocells, they could just skip the picocells and run fiber the last hundred feet to everyone's house. Actual fiber is now cheaper per linear foot than UTP copper wires, and a bundle of direct-burial cable with 8-16 fibers now costs less per linear foot than direct-burial cat5e.In contrast, if Verizon could deploy a remote picocell with fiber termination and enough battery backup power to run for a week without commercial power for less than $20,000, they'd be lucky. If they had to shoulder the cost of deploying all those picocells themselves as the cost of eliminating copper, they'd NEVER go through with it.
What REALLY needs to be done is another forced breakup of AT&T and Verizon to make them divest their ROW, wire, and fiber to a new company that's required by law to deal with them at arm's length, on equal terms with other wireless carriers, CLECs, and service providers. If Verizon and AT&T don't want to own wires anymore, fine... but make them sell them to someone who DOES, instead of allowing them to create artificial scarcity by decommissioning them, then hoarding the public right of way so nobody else can use it either. Any natural monopoly granted over public right of way should ALWAYS be on "use it, or lose it" terms, subject to revocation and re-allocation if the franchise holder isn't willing to put it to its highest and most productive use.