Paths to POPs -- John Baxter <email@example.com>, a colleague of ours out on the Olympic Peninsula, notes that POPs aren't the only way for providers to build networks. Similar to the UK solution we mention above, U.S. ISPs have another option:
You may also be calling an auto-forwarding telephone number, which has a certain number of "paths" (connections) to some remote collection of modems. These are charged (to the operator) on a per-path basis or otherwise. They can be used to good advantage where there isn't sufficient demand to justify setting up a POP as defined last week in NetBITS.