Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) like Verizon, that provide phone and internet service, have a copper problem. Not to mention a debt problem, a government problem, and a consumer problem.

Let’s start with the copper. Most ILECs have vast, outdated infrastructure from the POTS (plain old telephone service) era of rotary-dial phones. Hell, most of their service vans are older than most wireless technologies. It will cost them millions or billions to upgrade if they stopped doing everything else and focused on nothing but the upgrade, tomorrow.

Next is their debt. Some ILECs have been successful in building huge customer bases, but done so at the expense of overleveraging themselves (Verizons, Frontier’s, etc. revenue and debt numbers here)

Copper or debt alone would be enough to stop most of them in their tracks—and what makes sure to stop them from moderinizing is government. Specifically, government mandates that they provide telephony for all, and accurate e-911 location services (I need to research this a good bit more to understand what costs this imposes on the ILECs)

This government problem puts ILECs like Verizon in a huge bind. They would prefer to shut down their old-school copper networks and upgrade to Fiber (or maybe even exit the business altogether in order to grow their 5G wireless market share). But they can’t – because the cost of meeting those government mandates is so high, and their debt load so significant, that they can’t free up resources that they need to invest to stay a going concern, much less get ahead.

This leads to a fourth problem – the consumers. How many people do you know who love their provider, be it Spectrum, Verizon, or Frontier? Quite the contrary. The cable service man’s repair window is a subject of derision in late-night comedy. Complaints about high prices run rampant (over the very wires maintained by the ILEC that people are complaining about). Boards look closely at churn and acquisition numbers, and toss CEOs and CFOs to the curb at the first sign of dwindling market share. ILECs are in the unenviable position of not doing anything creative, lest it cost them consumers.

What if there was a better way?

What if one company could solve the ILECs’ copper problem, by providing affordable last-mile service to every device?

What if one company could solve the government’s geography and e-911 problems, by geolocating every router and by using unlicensed spectrum to blanket rural and urban areas alike?

What if one company could solve the debt problem, by permitting ILECs to get out of the business of maintaining the last mile – and conceivably, by freeing up LTE and 5G infrastructure that’s already built for more profitable use cases?

And what if one company could solve the consumer problem, by giving consumers a sense of ownership of their network, and making it possible for everyone to have the connectivity we want, when we want it, at a price we feel is reasonable?

One company can: OmniMesh.