The state of Vermont is a black hole so far as AT&T is concerned… they offer no direct cellular service here, only a roaming agreement through Vermont’s regional carrier, Unicel. Which is neither here nor there, unless you want to buy an iPhone. And then it’s… well, anywhere but here.

When Apple revealed early this year that it had inked an exclusive agreement with AT&T for the iPhone’s data service the collective groan from techies and Apple enthusiasts across Vermont was audible…iPhones, Black Holes and Stickin’ It to The Man

“It was a pretty big letdown,” said Don Mayer, CEO of Small Dog Electronics, an Apple dealer in Waitsfield. “I would have much rather seen them come out with a variety of carriers so places like Vermont won’t be left out in the cold.”

‘Course, there’s always some who want to strike a blow for parity… or just enjoy a fairly nifty gadget:

A digital ax is hanging over John Canning’s head these days.

Two weeks ago, Canning bought an iPhone, a new gadget from Apple Inc. that combines a cell phone, iPod digital music player, and Internet and e-mail applications. That made Canning something of a risk-taker. The device is tethered exclusively to AT&T Wireless, which offers no service in Vermont and threatens in legal documents and media interviews to terminate the contracts of anyone who buys an iPhone while living here.

Curiously, if AT&T should cancel Canning’s contract he would still have a Wi-Fi enabled, widescreen iPod that runs Mac OS. He could continue to surf the web, and download tracks from iTunes and videos from YouTube. He could get Google maps and directions, and check his email. And he wouldn’t have to pay AT&T another red cent. Which, as it happens, is precisely what some folks have wanted all along.

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