Maine PUC opposes Fairpoint subsidy

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PORTLAND — The Maine Public Utilities Commission says FairPoint Communications is not entitled to a $62.8 million state subsidy it requested to provide telephone service in remote parts of Maine.

The Portland Press Herald reports the agency’s order is not binding and will be included in a larger report the commission is preparing for the Legislature. FairPoint took over the designation of Maine’s “provider of last resort” when it bought Verizon’s landline network in 2008. The designation is a mandate to provide basic service anywhere in the company’s service territory.

Utilities commission chairman Tom Welch says the agency’s three commissioners were not convinced any subsidy is required. FairPoint has argued the market has made it harder for the company to justify the cost of maintaining the rural network.

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