As it progresses with its financial reorganization, FairPoint Communications (FRCMQ.PK) is asking the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to extend its deadline of the first phase of its broadband expansion plan.
During hearings to be held in Maine this week, FairPoint will ask the PUC to extend the deadline from April to December as well as reduce the number of broadband capable lines from 90 percent to 87 percent after the five-year expansion project ends. A key provision in gaining PUC approval to acquire Verizon's New England lines, FairPoint previously agreed to make broadband available to 83 percent of its lines two years after it wrapped the deal and 90 percent over five years.
One of the reasons why FairPoint is asking for the change is the cost to reach remote customers. In addition, FairPoint wants to get permission to have pricing based on location versus on a statewide basis. "If it costs $5,000 to hook someone up, and we're only getting $29 a month, it doesn't make sense from a business point of view," said Jeff Nevins, FairPoint spokesman in a Kennebec Journal article.
To be fair, FairPoint has made some progress with expanding broadband services in its New England territory. Last October, FairPoint spent $85 million to lay more than 368 miles of fiber and upgrade area Remote Terminal (RT) cabinets with new broadband electronic equipment in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
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