FairPoint wraps $6.6M extension project targeting 20 Vermont communities

FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) has put the finishing touches on a $6.6 million project that will bring broadband service to almost 4,000 locations in 20 communities throughout Vermont.

Targeted community areas include parts of Bethel, Bradford, Braintree, Brownington, Charleston, Chelsea, Corinth, Dummerston, Eden, Fairlee, Guilford, Johnson, Pittsfield, Putney, Readsboro, Thetford, Vershire, Washington, West Fairlee and Weston. Prior to this buildout, none of these communities could get broadband.

The project stems from an agreement FairPoint made with the Department of Public Service in 2012 that allowed the telco to settle the nearly $7 million in service quality penalties by bringing broadband service into 51 unserved communities.

The communities were selected based on analysis from the Department of Public Service and Vermont Telecommunications Authority, which used census block data to determine and map unserved locations.

Jim Porter, telecommunications and public policy director of Vermont's Department of Public Service, said in a release that "these expansions represented coverage of more than 70 percent of the state's unserved locations."

FairPoint also improved broadband services in nine other communities: Bellows Falls, Castleton, Enosburg Falls, Lyndonville, Manchester, Shelburne, West Dover, Wilmington and Winooski.

After entering the northern New England market via its acquisition of Verizon's lines in 2008, the telco has invested almost $100 million in its IP-based network and broadband expansion in Vermont and has added 1,100 miles of new fiber. These investments have enabled it to bring broadband service to 92 percent of its Vermont service areas.

Outside of Vermont, FairPoint has been extending broadband service in both Maine and New Hampshire via a mix of its own investment and Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I grants. In New Hampshire, it using the CAF funding to expand broadband service in 18 New Hampshire towns and $2 million in in CAF funding to expand service to 44 Maine towns.

For more:
- see the release

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