CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) ("FairPoint" or the "Company"), a leading communications provider, today announced it has accepted $13.3 million in annual support from the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF) for the state of Maine. By accepting these funds, the Company is committing to construct and operate network infrastructure and offer broadband service speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to approximately 35,500 locations in Maine. The support program and the FairPoint commitment run over six years.
"FairPoint enthusiastically supports the positive intent of CAF Phase II to bring broadband to underserved areas of Maine, and we are excited to participate in this FCC-administered program," said Chief Executive Officer Paul H. Sunu. "We are committing tens-of-millions of dollars in capital to build and upgrade infrastructure in Maine to extend affordable broadband services to remote areas which will help Maine businesses and residents alike stay connected to the world."
Maine's U.S. Senators weighed in on FairPoint's announcement. "I am very pleased that FairPoint is participating in Phase II of the Connect America Fund and will be accepting support to expand broadband services to the areas that are most difficult to serve," said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. "The Connect America Fund, plus FairPoint's investment in the program, will help to strengthen and expand modern broadband service to Mainers living in rural areas."
"Connecting rural America to the Internet is vital to ensuring the economic vitality of rural communities across the country," U.S. Senator Angus King said. "Not only is it essential to supporting economic competitiveness, but it will also help form the foundation for the future growth of technological advancements like telemedicine, distance learning, and other great innovations in rural parts of the state. I commend FairPoint's decision to accept the FCC's Connect America Funds and their commitment to improving connectivity and telecommunication service in these rural communities."
The FCC developed CAF as a part of its mandate to shift federal support from voice service in high cost service areas to broadband build out and operation in high cost service areas. FairPoint has invested tens-of-millions of dollars in the Company's broadband infrastructure in Maine since 2008, and under Phase I of CAF, over the last three years, has successfully delivered upgraded broadband service to over 30 municipalities in unserved and underserved areas of Maine utilizing approximately $1 million of incremental federal support and the Company's own capital. CAF Phase II will accelerate the FCC's mandate by explicitly supporting the development and operation of broadband in high cost service areas.
"This continues FairPoint's on-going effort to extend its network and expand broadband access in Maine," said Mike Reed, FairPoint's Maine State President. "The CAF support will bring Internet connectivity not just to Main Street, but also to rural parts of the state that are costly to serve and where market forces cannot support expansion."
Qualifying locations eligible for service as a part of the six-year build are determined by the FCC. While some locations in Maine will prove to be uneconomical to serve, the Company made its acceptance decision based on many factors including the totality of the business and regulatory model.
About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) provides advanced data, voice and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states. Leveraging an owned, fiber-core Ethernet network — with more than 20,000 route miles of fiber, including approximately 17,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England — FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services and disaster recovery. For more information, visit www.FairPoint.com.
SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.