In NH, FairPoint transition blame spread to PUC, contractors

Local citizens and newspapers in New Hampshire are starting to look beyond FairPoint's transition problems to state regulators and contractors that supervised its purchase of Verizon's landline business in northern New England. FairPoint has run a gauntlet of criticism for its problems after taking over from Verizon, including e-mail and Internet outages, poor customer service, billing issues and other transition-related problems.

Among the parties now getting more scrutiny are Capgemini, the company that designed FairPoint's computer system; Liberty Consulting Group, the company hired by New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to monitor FairPoint's progress in taking over Verizon's network and operations; and, the PUC itself.

In January, Liberty Consulting had assured public utilities officials that FairPoint was ready to switch over from Verizon's computer systems onto the Capgemini systems, but tens of thousands of customers have encountered problems with billing systems, service requests, and an e-mail glitch/oversight that left thousands of customers with no access for days to weeks.

Since the switchover citizens around the state have written in to local newspapers to criticize the PUC for signing off on the acquisition in the first place.

Finger pointing amongst the PUC, Liberty Consulting, and FairPoint has yet to be sorted out. The PUC says it was dependent upon Liberty Consulting - hired by all three states to keep a watch on FairPoint -- to make sure the phone company was ready for the cutover. Liberty assured the PUC that FairPoint was ready in late January, but later issued a report saying that FairPoint's problems were worse than the company had disclosed and accused FairPoint executives of making faulty and misleading statements to minimize the problems.

Liberty and Capgemini didn't return phone calls to the local press.

For more:
- Nashua Telegraph calls out NH PUC. Article.

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