How VoIP Hits the Sticks
The town of Forestville sits close to Lake Michigan along the Door Peninsula, a rural swath of northern Wisconsin known for luscious cherries and miles of untrammeled shorelines. It's a quiet hamlet of 500 -- and one battleground in a war over rural phone service that will have wide-ranging consequences. On one side of the conflict are the big long-distance companies such as AT&T (T ), Sprint (FON ), and MCI, which have to pay an access fee every time they hand off a call from their networks to a local carrier. In the 20 years since Ma Bell was broken up, those fees have added up to hundreds of billions of dollars.
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