AUGUSTA (AP) – The Public Utilities Commission has accepted FairPoint Communications’ cutover plan that will allow the company to assume full responsibility for Verizon’s wired phone and Internet business in Maine early next year.

A third-party consultant told the PUC it had reviewed FairPoint’s efforts to meet cutover criteria and found that the company could begin the final transition in late January.

The “cutover date” has been delayed several times since FairPoint’s $2.3 billion purchase of Verizon’s land lines in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont was completed last spring.

PUC Chairman Sharon Reishus said Tuesday that regulators do not foresee any broad operational issues that would significantly affect consumers’ use of the network during the cutover process.

Mission to Canada called a success

AUGUSTA (AP) – Organizers of a Maine trade mission to Canada say the weeklong effort was a success, as industries from lobster dealers to specialty shoe and metal manufacturers got an opportunity to renew their connections with Maine’s biggest trading partner.

President Janine Bisaillon-Cary of the Maine International Trade Center says gubernatorial trade missions usually generate between $2 million and $7 million in projected contracts and sales in the first year after a visit.

Last week’s trade mission to Vancouver and Toronto was Maine’s first to Canada since 1999.

Gov. John Baldacci went only to Toronto, paid his expenses out of his own pocket and traveled without support staff to save the state money.