Verizon's installer — without warning, Powderly says — removed the copper wires that used to carry his phone calls. For most of the world, copper still links homes and businesses, as it has for a century.
Verizon's new high-bandwidth fiber lines are capable of carrying not only calls but also Internet data and television with room to grow. But once the copper is pulled, it's hard to switch back to the traditional phone system or less expensive digital subscriber line service.
And Verizon isn't required, in most instances, to lease fiber to rival phone companies, as it is with the copper infrastructure.