Third-party Help Urged for FairPoint 

Problems continue to plague some FairPoint customers, six months after the company took over Verizon’s landline and internet business in Maine.Today, company executives and representatives from the Public Advocate office appeared before a legislative panel in Augusta.”The best thing for the state of Maine, your customers and others, is to have this all work and we move forward.”Representatives for FairPoint said Wednesday the problems in their systems were created when they consolidated Verizon’s six hundred existing computer systems down to sixty.”Right now it’s mostly complex things,” Fairpoint spokesman Jeff Nevins says of the problems. “It’s not simple things like ordering high speed internet or installing a telephone line. It’s some of the more complex orders that are still having problems and we need to get those fixed.”Fairpoint says they have more than 550 thousand lines in Maine. They estimate 10 percent had problems during the switch, but those problems at times had serious consequences.”A large majority of the population of Houlton couldn’t call its own hospital,” says Deputy Public Advocate Bill Black, during the hearing.Members of the Legislature want to know – can the problems be fixed – and how quickly. Public Advocate representatives say a real fix could be another six months in the making.”What we would like to see, and what we have not seen happening, is for someone with an independent knowledge of OSS systems to come in, and in effect, advise FairPoint, and let the regulators know where the problems are,” Black says.”We want people who can come in and actually help us. Who have the knowledge of the systems and the expertise to help us go forward,” Nevins says.While the details of third-party review are debated, those on the panel say the questions will continue.”We have a responsibility to our constituents to make landline service, and the lifeline of public safety in Maine, be adequately provided for by FairPoint Communications.”