Verizon Wireless is giving a reprieve to some rural customers who are scheduled to be booted off their service plans, but only in cases when customers have no other options for cellular service.
Verizon recently notified 8,500 customers in 13 states that they will be disconnected on October 17 because they used roaming data on another network. But these customers weren't doing anything wrong—they are being served by rural networks that were set up for the purpose of extending Verizon's reach into rural areas.
As Verizon explained in 2015, the company set up its LTE in Rural America (LRA) program to provide technical support and resources to 21 rural wireless carriers to help them build 4G networks. Verizon benefited by being able to reach more customers in sparsely populated areas. Customers with these plans don't even see roaming indicators on their phones, as it appears that they're on the Verizon network.