The big technology news here in Maine today was the announcement that Verizon was selling off its landline assets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I had known that they had been discussing the idea of selling off the wires and keeping the communications side - much in the same way Central Maine Power sold off its power generation side of the business but kept the distribution side. That made sense to me. Afterall, the number of landline have been dropping steadily for the past few years as folks switch to wireless. Then with the competition from Cable TV and VoIP, the days of wired phones were clearly numbered. But this is bigger than I thought.
So the news that Verizon was changing their business plan was not so incredible as was the fact that they are selling to a little tiny company in North Carolina. I mean, come on, is this a joke?
It was just a short ten years ago when Maine was full of little ma & pop telephone companies including the one over there in Bryant Pond where they still were running a system with crank phones (this is not a joke)! And it looks like we are taking a step backward, "Number please.... "
According to their website, FairPoint Communications is:
FairPoint is a leading provider of communications services to rural communities across the country. Incorporated in 1991, FairPoint's mission is to acquire and operate telecommunications companies that set the standard of excellence for the delivery of service to rural communities. Today, FairPoint owns and operates 31 local exchange companies located in 18 states offering an array of services, including local and long distance voice, data, Internet and broadband offerings.
This compares to Verizon which is described on their website as:
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.
Now, why would you want to have your business telephone system with a company like FairPoint? BTW, wasn't that the name of the episode from the first StarTrek:The Next Generation? Mission to FairPoint?
Answer: Not me!
One really has to wonder where these TarHeels are getting the "approximately $2.715 billion" for this sale. This is like Joe's Hamburgers buying McDonalds. BTW, FairPoint's actual telephone company is really a bunch of little companies and have a "carrier service" called - you guessed it FairPoint Carrier Service, which actually advertises on their website - "After Hours Customer Service!" Whoo Hoo!
The PUC better take a good long hard look at this one and make sure we stay in the 21st Century.