UPDATED: FairPoint expands broadband availability in Vermont, other legacy regions

FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) on Tuesday revealed its plans to expand broadband service in more parts of Vermont and a number of its territories outside of New England.

In Vermont, the service provider is building out broadband services to over 100 homes and businesses in Chelsea and Washington.

When it completes its latest build out in the state, service will reach customers along all or portions of the following streets: Bearhoot, Chelsea-Corinth, Clermont, Coddington, Corinth, Doyle, Hart Hollow, Kennedy, Pepper, Richardson, Sargent, Scales Hill, Taylor, Thorn, Upper Village, Washington Turnpike and White Hill.

Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire--its two other New England territories--have been a big area of focus for the service provider.

This latest effort follows earlier broadband deployment plans it announced in June and July.

At the end of June, FairPoint allocated $6.6 million to extend broadband DSL service to 19 rural communities in Vermont, including Chelsea and Washington. Later, in July, it secured a $2.2 million grant under the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF)  to extend broadband service in 53 Vermont towns that it said were either unserved or don't have broadband access.

Outside of New England, the service provider said last Saturday that it made upgrades to its last mile network in parts of six states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, New York, Washington, and Missouri.

In these states, FairPoint will begin offering up to 15 Mbps speeds in some locations and 50 Mbps in others, depending on location over its cable TV plant.

In these markets, FairPoint owns a small cable TV network in addition to its traditional telephone network it operates in those markets. The service provider got these cable operations through acquisitions of other area telcos.

"We decided we should not only move forward in offering higher speeds in those markets, but exceed what are customers are expecting," said Chris Hardy, Combination Technician for FairPoint, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We have competition here with Time Warner Cable in certain areas, which we're an overbuild of and decided to go with a Motorola (now Google) BSR Series CMTS that enables us to provide up to the 50 Mbps with a 5 Mbps upload."

Hardy added that the BSR is a future-proof platform that will allow it eventually deliver up to not only deliver "100 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up but also the ability to do 1 Gbps synchronous on a cable modem."

Outside of its cable markets, it continues to offer traditional DSL and phone services over its separate copper-based phone plant.

Like upgrading its cable plant to DOCSIS 3.0 deliver higher speeds, Hardy said it is considering similar transitions on its copper plant.  

"We do offer DSL and phone beyond the cable TV market and we're looking at going to VDSL as well so we can provide higher speeds to those customers to kind of compete with cable," he said.

For more:
- Rutland Herald has this article
- see this release

Special report: 2012 Women in Wireline

Related articles:
FairPoint voice-access line losses eat into Q2 revenue
FCC's Connect America Funding initiative leaves 13 states in the cold
FairPoint gets $2M CAF grant to extend broadband service in Vermont
Anti-idling initiative an economic and environmental plus for FairPoint

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