The Maine Public Utilities Commission recently voted to require FairPoint Communications to recalculate its percentage of customers with access to broadband using stricter methodology, after the state's public advocate raised questions over the company's broadband expansion efforts.
The commissioners voted 2-1 to require FairPoint to re-examine how many of its customers have broadband access, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported. The company says it has expanded service to 87% of its customers, meeting a benchmark set in 2008 as part of FairPoint's acquisition of Verizon's land lines. Earlier this month, however, the Public Advocate's Office filed a brief with the PUC arguing the company hadn't met its obligation, saying FairPoint's calculation included some customers who had a physical broadband connection but could not receive the service. FairPoint spokesman Jeff Nevins defended the company's broadband expansion efforts, saying it's invested more than $169 million in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
FairPoint officials and PUC staff will meet to review the stricter methodology. PUC Chairman Tom Welch said FairPoint will likely have to invest more money and install more equipment to meet stronger requirements.