With greater scale of legacy copper network focused on FTR and some other regionals, perhaps the maintenance and service costs of the combined old system could be handled more efficiently and cost effectively. Those who want to keep their POT could do so, only not under ATT or VS brand, rather under FTR and others.
Could it be that the future for both VS and ATT is to be wireless, internet, digital and cloud? They have said that operating the wireless network is much less expensive than maintaining the legacy copper network.
ATT CEO has stated that within 10 years they will be all internet/digital and will no longer have copper wire. Their intent is to transition current copper customers. Perhaps part of that long range strategy is to sell off ATT copper wire telephone business to regional carriers...like FTR. Imagine FTR growing to multiples of its current size as they expand their "partnering" with ATT and acquire more and more POTS.
Another thing, FTR CEO sounded very confident that the dividend is safe and that she is committed to keeping it at this level.