FairPoint continues to plod through email snafu

At two weeks and counting, northern New England customers continue to deal with transferring email addresses from their old verizon.com service to the new FairPoint Communications email system. Customers may get some compensation for their troubles, and local regulators have their hands tied when it came to email and Internet access, unlike phone services.

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has recommended FairPoint provide compensation to customers who have suffered through email problems, but did not make recommendations as to the form of compensation. FairPoint says it is "investigating" the possibility of compensation.  A one-time reduction in bills for affected customers is the most likely scenario.

Local papers say FairPoint still is facing a "heavy load" of customer phone calls and online queries to handle problems resulting from its takeover of Verizon systems at the end of January. The heavily regulated telephone side appears to have made the cut-over without a hitch, but Internet service and email, which are not regulated, have run into problems. Since the public utilities commissions don't have jurisdiction over Internet services, they can't mandate immediate repairs and levy heavy fines.

"Tens of thousands" of FairPoint's 285,000 online customers in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine were affected by the cut-over, with people being bogged down in wait queues to get through to a customer representatives and sometimes getting a "Due to high call volumes, we are not taking any calls" message at peak times.

Most of the problems have cropped up in switching from Verizon.net to myfairpoint.net, but there have been other technical issues as well, notes a FairPoint spokesperson. Local papers report issues with email settings, password problems and dial-up Internet access.

For more:
- Keene Sentinel reports potential comp
- Bangor Daily News documents FairPoint's continuing problem resolution. Article.
- TimesArgus.com points out the role of regulators. Post.

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