This was before there was FTTP (fiber to the premise). Back then there were plenty of places that the fiber was reverted to copper. Now there isn't except at the customers end. I'm unaware of the current methods, but I'm sure there are some.
I'm fully aware of what's currently happening. Big companies are getting breached for mass amounts of information. That's what hackers go after, not a few cell phones with the hopes of finding one person they can steal from.