Changes benefit consumers and are first step to fair competition
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (January 23, 2012) - The Public Service Board has approved a four-year regulatory plan for FairPoint Communications that takes an important first step toward ensuring fair industry competition while providing pricing flexibility and protections for consumers.
FairPoint is required to update its regulatory plan every four years and the Vermont Department of Public Service supported the company in its request for regulatory oversight that more accurately reflects the modern telecommunications industry.
"We appreciate the faith the Department and Public Service Board have shown in supporting these important improvements that will benefit both customers and FairPoint," said Michael K. Smith, Vermont state president. "The changes allow FairPoint to compete more directly and that will be very good for Vermonters."
Under the new plan, which expires in 2015, FairPoint no longer needs Public Service Board approval to offer competitive pricing - a step that, in the past, has taken as much as seven weeks to approve.
"This levels the playing field when it comes to offering competitive pricing," Smith said. "We have the team and the technology to go head to head with anyone; now we can compete in real time."
The new rules also allow FairPoint pricing flexibility on all its services except basic local exchange voice service. Local voice service prices are frozen for two years and then capped after that. Basic rates will continue to be uniform across the state.
The new plan recognizes the strides FairPoint has made in improving and maintaining high standards of customer service. It substantially reduces the amount of service quality penalties FairPoint is subject to, to a maximum of $1.65 million per year. And as FairPoint continues to perform well, the penalties can be phased out all together in two years.
"We're making or exceeding customer service expectations and, in some areas, we're hitting high marks that haven't been met in almost a decade," Smith said. "I am especially gratified that the Board and Department recognize the high levels of customer service we're achieving and the employees here in Vermont who have made that happen."
About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP) is a leading communications provider of high-speed Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other broadband services to customers in communities across 18 states. Through its fast, reliable network, FairPoint delivers affordable data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. FairPoint delivers VantagePointSM services through its resilient IP-based network in northern New England. This state-of-the-art network provides Ethernet connections that support video conferencing, e-learning and other broadband based applications. Additional information about FairPoint products and services is available at www.FairPoint.com. You can also connect with FairPoint on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/myfairpoint) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/myfairpoint).