FairPoint boosts broadband across Vermont, reaching some rural addresses for the first time

FairPoint Communications

FairPoint Communications is continuing on a path to upgrade broadband speeds and access in its northern New England footprint, announcing that it completed expansion projects in 38 Vermont towns, bringing broadband to some areas for the first time.

The provider said that 39,250 locations now have access to higher broadband speeds, although it didn’t specify the fastest speed available.

In July, FairPoint increased broadband speeds in 13 Maine towns, making up to 25 Mbps available where possible. However, in areas where it upgraded existing copper-based DSL, that 25 megabit top speed likely won’t be available.

FairPoint is upgrading networks throughout the region, including New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Maine, partly using CAF-II funding, but also through organic builds. The provider has invested more than $900 million since 2008 to improve infrastructure and broadband access in these states.

“FairPoint's upgrades can make a big impact, especially for those who live and work in rural Vermont," said Beth Fastiggi, FairPoint's Vermont state president, in a release.

Of course, the network upgrades aren’t just a goodwill gesture. FairPoint is battling revenue declines, particularly on its legacy networks and has pegged its data and internet services segment as a key part of its strategy to return to profitability.

To maximize revenues in this segment, the provider is making investments in areas of its footprint where competition is minimal, CFO Karen Turner recently told Jefferies analysts.

FairPoint said it should return to profitability by the end of 2016, but that hasn’t convinced all of its investors. Maglan Capital, which owns 7.5 percent of the company, is agitating for the resignation of four FairPoint board members, adding that the board was “complacent” during a recent tumble in share prices.

For more:
- see the release

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FairPoint upgrades broadband capabilities in 13 Maine towns, offers 25 Mbps for eligible customers