The Vermont Public Service Board unanimously approved the sale of the state’s largest telephone service provider to a larger company that the board said would be in a better position to offer reliable service.
Consolidated Communications of Illinois will take over FairPoint
Communication’s operations in Vermont and 16 other states. The board determined that Consolidated’s ownership will be in the state’s public interest.
“The combined company will be more financially stable than FairPoint on a standalone basis, with stronger credit ratings, more flexible access to capital, and greater revenue and cash flow diversity,” the board said in its decision, released Monday evening.
In a memorandum of understanding with the state Department of Public Service, Consolidated has agreed to invest an average of 14 percent of its Vermont revenues in the Vermont telecommunications network. The company also pledged to spend $1 million to address areas of the state where service has been unreliable. Those investments were key to the sale’s approval, the board said.
The company has also indicated it plans to introduce services not offered by FairPoint, including home security and various data services. With the acquisition, Consolidated will operate in 24 states.
The 37-page Public Service Board order was made by recently retired board chair Jim Volz and members Sarah Hofmann and Margaret Cheney.