Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FairPoint Map, Pt. 2

FairPoint's difficulties in taking over Verizon telecommunications assets in Maine have not inspired confidence.  Thus when I saw the firm's map indicating areas where broadband was to be deployed by the end of 2010 I was not only encouraged, but also curious whether exansion was actually on track. 

 The short answer is "maybe" and "time will tell".  While this is a bit unsatisfying, the reasons for the ambiguity are instructive. 

FairPoint has pledged to the Maine Public Utilities Commission that it will roll out broadband service to at least 83% of its subscribers by the end of 2010.  The original target had been 90%, but was adjusted downward once already in recognition of time and expense involved. 

Accordingly, according to a FairPoint spokesperson, crews are rushing to install the necessary equipment in a large number of locations more or less at the same time.  Rather than make an upgrade in a given area in linear fashion, from step 1 to completion, work is going being done in an opportunistic manner.  As equipment comes in, as installers capable of doing particular tasks are freed up, work goes forward on corresponding projects.  In other words, workers are being kept busy doing what they can do on projects that are ready for them.  

Hence, the projects represented on the map cannot be neatly divided between those that are done and those that have not yet been started. Quite a few of them, according to my contact, are essentially "in progress".

Reading between the lines, my guess is that

a.  "End of 2010" will probably mean first quarter of 2011 for some areas

b.  A handful of areas in the "by the end of 2010" group of locations may slip substantially further and be replaced by other areas that turn out to be easier to install

c.  FairPoint is very much playing "catch-up" in respect to broadband deployment.  This is not what one would like business as usual to be.  Much as one would wish things to be more orderly, and much as one might attribute the current situation to FairPoint's own shortcomings, one has to root for the company to successfully meet its myriad obligations.

Come January, 2011, it will be interesting to see whether FairPoint has substantially fulfilled expectations for broadband deployment in 2010.  It will be a major indicator of whether the firm has swung into financial and technological recovery, or whether individuals and businesses in Maine will have to search elsewhere for that highspeed link to the future.


  1. Thanks for keeping up with this. As a fellow Northport resident, it is good to see that there are others out there who share this frustration. In the spring of 2009 I engaged in an email discussion with Jack Driscoll, the Northport town administrator at that time. He was told by RoJean Tulk, Legislative Director for Fairpoint, that our town was on the 'unofficial' list for the 2010 construction season. Time is running out for that deadline. No surprise. Let's hope 2011 sees some changes. Thanks again for your pro-active efforts!

  2. Hello, I live within Fairpoints 2010 planned network and I am curious if that means I will get vantage point this year or at all.

    I have seen Fair Point working in Chesterville back in September but I haven't seen them since.

    Back in September there was spools and spools of new cables being put up but sadly it never came to my street.

    I live on the dutch gap road, just down the road from the town hall and no one on my road has access to any thing other then dish network.

    Wireless can't penetrate the trees to get a decent signal and cable is none existent any more.

    I have been bugging Fair point for months because I am tired of the 4.8K to 28k dial up that I have been using sense 1997.

    Its time to get with the program and use the Internet the way it was meant to be used instead of being stuck in the stone age of Internet access.

    Any clues? your blogs seam to be very good reads, I have been checking it for the past month now for updates.

  3. My sense is that this is a frenetic time for FairPoint. In part, it is a numbers game to meet the PUC target for broadband expansion as soon as possible. That means by the end of the year or some subsequent time that is not dramatically or embarrassingly beyond January 1. Once that number of subscribers for whom broadband is available is reached it is hard telling what will happen. There are other deadlines for further expansion, but they are off in the distance, relatively speaking. I speculate that FairPoint finances will play a role in determining whether the suddenly sped up roll-out continues.

    As an individual and a consumer, this could leave folks in totally unserved areas to "pound sand". About the only option for the totally unserved is to try to get together a proposal for a ConnectME-subsidized expansion. Most of these tend to be fixed wireless services -- great if there are lots of folks with an unblocked view to a potential tower location. There also have been grants to wireline projects, some involving FairPoint and some involving a cable television provider. (How able and willing FairPoint will be to take part in such projects in the new year is yet to be seen.)

    So, get together with folks similarly frustrated with antiquated connectivity and pay attention to what the ConnectME Authority is up to.

    And write when you get connected...

  4. I am sure Chesterville has enough inrest. I am going to wright a flyer or something asking folks to wright to the connect me authority and telling them that we want high speed Internet access and perhaps request a meeting with connectME or puc or who ever that will listen to our needs and hopefully we get the ball rolling.


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