FairPoint saga continues to make headlines

Woe unto FairPoint Communications, that beleaguered telecom that has struggled mightily to overcome its corporate Waterloo: the problem-plagued switchover of the New Hampshire-Maine-Vermont landline network it acquired from Verizon Communications last year.

Despite appointing a new CEO earlier this month (and giving him the option to buy 1.6 million shares of the company’s common stock and 523,810 shares of its restricted stock), the company continues to suffer recurring service outages. The latest one prevented some of its Vermont customers from calling out of state—or from reaching FairPoint’s customer service.

The normally stoic New Englanders are becoming a little less so with each outage. A long story Sunday in the Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus takes a good look at the past troubles and the possible fixes under new CEO David Hauser. In a letter to the editor printed in several of the region’s papers, Hauser wrote, "I completely understand there is a big job ahead of us. Now more than ever, all of us at FairPoint have to roll up our sleeves and remain focused on completing the largest systems integration in the history of the telecommunications industry."

That may become a moot point if the company can’t extricate itself from the endless problems that have cost it millions of dollars in lost revenue and thousands of lost customers who have cut their ties to landlines as the woes mounted.

The company even raised the B-word, bankruptcy, in a June 24 filing with the SEC. That scenario is covered extensively by New Hampshire newspaper the Concord Monitor, which worries that the affected states would have difficulty preparing for a Fairpoint bankruptcy filing.

Customers and officials in the affected areas want answers.

"At some point, FairPoint has an obligation to the people of New Hampshire to say what is going on and what we can expect, so that we can prepare for the future," said New Hampshire state Sen. Deborah Reynolds, a Democrat who opposed the sale to FairPoint.

For more:
- see the Times-Argus article
- and this Monitor article

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