Verizon will fire thousands of its customers
(KUTV) Stoney Monks runs an aerial imaging service. It's not just beauty shots he takes. He is regularly called upon when folks get lost in Utah’s wilderness near Roosevelt.
His unmanned aircraft is able to beam images back to rescuers on the ground.
"So anybody that's in search and rescue, anybody that's at the emergency operations center, can see what is going on on the ground during the emergency," Monks said.
But that public service may be coming to an end. Monks has been told by his cell phone network provider, Verizon, that his contract is being terminated.
In a letter, Verizon says Monks is using too much data. It’s a surprising excuse since Monks is signed up on Verizon’s widely-advertised unlimited data plan.
“It was almost a face punch.”
Monks says he’s mad, especially because he can't simply switch carriers. His drone equipment was custom-made specifically to work on Verizon's network.
"This isn't equipment you just go off and buy anywhere.”
Monks isn’t the only rural-Utah customer being dropped by the cell phone giant.
Misty Neilson said many of her friends and family also got the cancellation notices.
“Even though they're in the middle of their contract, they're cutting them off,” Neilson said.
The issue is, what else, money. Verizon doesn't own any cell phone towers in Roosevelt. The towers are owned by another company and Verizon has to pay that other company to use its towers.
It's a deal that, Verizon told Get Gephardt, is now losing the company money.
Verizon customers who signed up for "unlimited data or other high data plans" often use a ton of data. In turn, Verizon is forced to pay more for use of the towers without being able to pass the costs on to their customers.
“This is a cost versus revenue decision," a spokesperson wrote.
It’s a customer service issue that goes beyond Roosevelt. Verizon is tearing up contracts in rural communities all over the country. 8,500 customers being dropped in 13 states.
But some folks here in Roosevelt, who were encouraged to sign up for Verizon with promises of unlimited plans, say they feel deceived.
“That's why most of us went to Verizon,” Neilson said. “It's cheaper. We had dependable service. And now they're telling us, ‘Well since you live in a rural community we're taking that away from you because we're not making enough money.’”
Verizon is postponing when they will fire their customers. Originally, they were being cut off this month. Now customers will have until December 1, 2017 to find an alternative service.