Telecommunications Expert Witnesses Testify in Historic Telephone Utility Acquisition

Maine’s Public Advocate Office has proposed conditions for a deal in which Fairpoint would acquire Verizon’s northern New England landline business. The 23 conditions were developed based on the examination by Public Advocate attorneys, their four expert witnesses, and thousands of pages of documents, and testimony in the case. Telecommunications expert witnesses testified in the telephone utility acquisition case where PUC attorneys said “The risks presented by this case are enormous, and all potential adverse impacts must be addressed now.” Seacoast Online also reports:

A key element of the Public Advocate’s recommendations requires a restructuring of the agreement between Fairpoint and Verizon so that Verizon, in effect, is paid a lower price. That change would allow Fairpoint to operate with less debt. ‘Because, under Maine law, Verizon does not have the right to abandon service without the commission’s approval, the Public Advocate believes it is appropriate for the commission to require Verizon to lower its price in order to ensure Fairpoint’s long-term financial viability. Without a significant reduction in the price, this proposal will not work for Maine’s residential and small business customers,’ Davies emphasized. If Fairpoint and Verizon are unable or unwilling to perform on all of these recommended conditions, the Public Advocate will recommend that the transaction be rejected by the PUC.