Opposition To Verizon Asset Sale To FairPoint Is Rising

As decision time approaches for the Verizon/Fairpoint deal, opposition to the sale is getting stronger. While FairPoint promises to bring broadband to a majority of the customers in northern New England (assuming the sale goes through), many of Verizon's present customers are waking up to the fact that the sale may not be all it's cracked up to be. Verizon has very little, if any broadband coverage in Coos County in northernmost New Hampshire and residents there would welcome anyone that brings Coos into the broadband age. But what may be a salve to some is seen as a symptom of worse things to come by others.

Peter Riviere, executive director of Coos Regional Development Corp. but who spoke in his individual capacity, said, "Service under Verizon has been intolerable." Dan Cherry, who lives in Newport, said, "We know what it's like not to have technology resources." "Fiber is opportunity; DSL is really old technology, even if people don't have that technology," Cherry said.

"There's a real great opportunity for us to be penny-wise and pound foolish here," Cherry said. "In the long-term if they're not improving the infrastructure in the entire state, if they're not concerned about economic development, growth and education, and the role that a major company like Verizon can play, versus a very small and rural-oriented company, then we could be really be damaging ourselves into the future."

One of the reasons that Verizon hasn't been doing much to expand DSL is because the costs of expanding, operating, and maintaining DSL is far higher than building a high-speed fiber optics network. This is something that is not in FairPoint's favor. They'll be building an expensive network (in relation to fiber) that will have severely limited potential for future bandwidth upgrades, while fiber has a virtually unlimited bandwidth. It's one of the main reasons I oppose the sale of Verizon's wireline assets: I don't want to be stuck in the broadband wilderness, a place that will quickly fall behind other parts of the nation as they upgrade to fiber.

This is a deal that should die on the vine.

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