Michelle Hymson, FairPoint Communications


Michelle Hymson, FairPointMichelle Hymson, the Assistant Vice President for Wholesale Sales, FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) feels after a number years of turmoil and uncertainty that the telco is in a good place now where the service provider can focus on product growth products and new strategies.

With much of FairPoint's financial woes related to its purchase of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) northern New England network infrastructure behind it, the service provider's wholesale team has been able to focus more of its time on expanding sales and creating new wholesale services for area service providers.

A big piece of the wholesale side, not surprisingly, is centered on delivering Ethernet-based wireless backhaul services to area wireless operators.

In Northern New England alone, FairPoint has built out fiber to 800 of the 1,600 towers it currently serves.

"After fully appreciating the growth potential in the wireless market we were able to close multiple opportunities with large wireless carriers," Hymson said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "That allowed us to build fiber and provide Ethernet connectivity to over 800 towers. Not only were we able to deliver that but in doing so we secured a best in class position with these carriers."

Hymson added that by gaining the trust of these service providers it has enabled them to win other contracts that FairPoint plans to announce throughout 2012.

Last October, the service provider began extending its E-Line service suite, including Ethernet Private Line (EPL) and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL), to wholesale customers in New England. Leveraging its fiber and IP/MPLS Vantage Point network, 80 percent of its COs has been equipped to deliver Ethernet.

Although wireless operators are a big part of the FairPoint Wholesale customer mix, its suite of Ethernet and fiber-based services is finding a place with other traditional wireline service providers.

Its work is paying off. In Northern New England alone, the service provider serves almost 200 wholesale customers, including IXC, CLECs and ISPs in northern New England and other territories via its IP/Ethernet Vantage Point network.

Between its own legacy footprint it gained from various acquisitions and the network it purchased from Verizon, FairPoint covers about 96 percent of business addresses in its three New England states.

Outside of northern New England, Hymson believes that because it created standardized products across all of its properties, FairPoint can provide consistency for both traditional wireline and wireless customers that have multisite needs.

"Because each of those telecom properties were over time acquired and have different attributes, there's been a lot of work done to create products and procedures that are standardized across those, but also seek to address the particular needs of those markets," Hymson said. "We do have the advantage from a wholesale perspective of having fore born agreements so we can address opportunities not only in Northern New England, but in all those properties with one contractual arrangement and billing perspective."    

While 2011 was a pivotal year for FairPoint in terms of a product and network buildout perspective, 2012 will be a time when Hymson and her team will continue to drive the benefits of the foundation they built to address new and existing customer needs.