FairPoint Communications, Inc. (a Consolidated Communications company) is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and operates communication services in 31 markets in 17 states, mostly in rural areas. FairPoint services include local and long distance phone service, data, Internet, broadband, television, business communications solutions and fiber services. FairPoint, along with Frontier Communications, has been at the forefront of acquiring Verizon landline operations in past years.
FairPoint was founded as MJD Communications Inc. in 1991, and was established as an Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) which gave it certain rights and obligations regarding providing service to rural areas.
The company acquired the Cass County Telephone Company in 2006, integrating its operations into FairPoint Communications Missouri. It also acquired the Germantown Independent Telephone Company in Germantown, Ohio.
In 2007, FairPoint had about 330,000 access points or customers. In that year, Verizon Communications announced plans to sell its landline operations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (Northern New England Spinco) to FairPoint for $2.7 billion. Of that amount, $1.7 billion would go to Verizon Communications in cash and debt and approximately $1.015 billion would go to Verizon shareholders in FairPoint common stock. Verizon would hold no stock.
After extensive federal and state regulatory review and approval, the purchase became effective March 31, 2008, for a price of $2.4 billion. State regulators sought a lower figure out of concerns that excess debt would hamper service and expansion.
Approximately 1.6 million phone customers and 230,000 internet users in the three states were added to FairPoint's customer base, with the result that the Northern New England customers represented 85% of FairPoint's customers.
This increase made FairPoint Communications the 8th largest phone company in the United States. Of its nearly 4,000 employees, approximately 80% serve the Northern New England customers.
As part of the purchase, FairPoint had to make broadband available to 83 percent of customers. On January 27, 2011, the company announced it had met this goal. Of its customers 68.9 percent had broadband at the time of the purchase; 44,000 new customers have the service now. FairPoint offers internet through the use of DSL technology.
On May 5, 2009 FairPoint indicated in its First Quarter 2009 Report that it was "considering engaging a financial advisor to evaluate its current capital structure and to explore options with respect to a potential restructuring." It also acknowledged that it was "at risk of failing to comply with the interest coverage covenant contained in its credit facility as early as the covenant measurement period ending June 30, 2009."
If debt arrangements were not made by October 1, 2009, FairPoint was going to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to CEO David Hauser.
As a result of the bankruptcy, Verizon shareholders lost the entire $1.015 billion in shares they had received in the previous year's deal. New England Verizon networks had been profitable before the transfer to FairPoint. After the bankruptcy, the creditors became the initial shareholders of the reorganized FairPoint.
The company emerged from bankruptcy in January 2011.
Verizon later lost its remaining money it made on the sale. The remaining money from the sale in stock was lost when FairPoint declared bankruptcy. It previously lost all but $5 million from the lawsuit. Since then it has been continually rated as the worst internet provider in the northeast due to their constant down time.
On May 22, 2012, FairPoint announced that it would sell its pay telephone operations to Pacific Telemanagement Services. The deal includes its 4,000 payphones operated through Northern New England Telephone Operations and Telephone Operating Company of Vermont. Fairpoint announced that the phones have become unprofitable at about $1 million in revenue.
On October 14, 2014, FairPoint Communications froze the pensions of nearly 2,000 employees who had built, maintained, and serviced vital telecommunications infrastructure throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The company had already stopped providing retiree health care and support for child and elder care. Workers said that this was all part of FairPoint’s plan to turn their good middle-class jobs into low-wage temporary jobs. Also, the implications and trickle-down-effect, of nearly 2,000 unemployed New England workers, has caused ripples, leading to waves, in local and regional economies throughout the three states (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont).
Unions representing the employees had been negotiating with the company since April to reach new collective bargaining agreements. Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said that FairPoint management abandoned the bargaining process on August 27 after refusing to compromise on any substantive issue since negotiations began.
FairPoint replaced striking workers with contingency workers from as far away as Oregon and California. The replacement workers struggled to maintain any semblance of normal service as a series of nor'easter storms brought rain and snowy winter conditions to the three-state area. FairPoint spokeswoman Angelynne Beaudry acknowledged that “long answer times had customers calling back multiple times.” Beaudry admitted that FairPoint has struggled to respond to service requests, and said company officials “regret some of our customers have been inconvenienced as we had to reschedule their appointments.”
In December 2016 FairPoint was purchased by Consolidated Communications for $1.5 billion including assumption of debt. The acquisition closed in July 2017. The combined company operates under the Consolidated Communications name.
FairPoint owns the following operating companies:
The 18 states served in whole or part are:
Nearly in whole: