FairPoint expands broadband footprint in 18 N.H. towns

FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) will expand and upgrade its network infrastructure to bring broadband service to 18 towns that either have no broadband access at all or can only get low-speed connections.

The network investment in New Hampshire will take advantage of $848,000 from the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I program. Upon completion, the telco will enable broadband or offer higher speeds to about 7,000 locations, including 1,470 that qualify for CAF Phase I funding.

It expects that the project will take three years with about "a third of the communities coming online each year."

Joining fellow telcos AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), FairPoint accepted $3.3 million in Connect America Fund Phase I funding from the FCC in order to extend broadband services into harder to reach areas of New England, Midwest, and South territories.

In addition to New Hampshire, it accepted $2 million from the CAF last July to provide broadband service to 53 Vermont towns that were deemed "unserved" or don't have any broadband access last July.

Meanwhile, in Maine FairPoint plans to expand and upgrade broadband Internet to almost 6,000 locations in 45 towns of which 1,659 locations qualify for CAF funding. It recently got the state Public Utilities Commission's approval for its plan to extend broadband to more residential and business customers.

Outside of New England, FairPoint also plans to expand and upgrade broadband Internet to nearly 2,360 CAF-qualified locations in New York, Washington, Virginia, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Florida. 

For more:
- see the release

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Related articles:
FairPoint accepts $3.3M in CAF I rural broadband funding
FairPoint, Maine PUC reach agreement on state's broadband plans
FairPoint's data, Internet services revenue grow 11 percent to $40 million

Updated article on Aug. 27 with more information on upgrades in Maine and areas outside of New England.