N.H. bails out FairPoint, gives access to $50M fund

New Hampshire officials Thursday tossed floundering FairPoint Communications a lifeline, allowing the company to tap into a $50 million fund earmarked for capital and operating expenses in the state to help restore the company's liquidity and help reinforce its fragile financial position. Officials also hoped the cash would be used to help improve deteriorating network infrastructure.

The company will be allowed to use the money--which was paid into the fund last year by Verizon--in Maine and Vermont as well. In return, FairPoint says it will spend $65 million throughout New Hampshire on Capex projects by 2012. FairPoint bought the landline operations in the three-state area from Verizon in March last year and began operating the network in January. Its service has been the focus of myriad consumer complaints, which grew to a crescendo when FairPoint's call center was unable to take customer calls earlier this month.

Last week, FairPoint reported first-quarter earnings that included a sequential slide in revenue to about $311.6 million from more than $319 million during the previous quarter. The company's total number of access lines in the first quarter of 2009 was about 8.8 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2008, though this figure is in line or only slightly above the average line loss among independent telcos.

The company is weighing whether it should attempt to restructure.

For more:
- see this Concord Monitor article

Related articles
FairPoint execs get bonuses; revenues slip
In N.H., the blame spreads 
N.H. sets new requirements for FairPoint
Maine PUC: FairPoint generates largest number of complaints
FairPoint expects normal New England operations by June

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