This op-ed was previously printed in The Union Leader
EVERY SUMMER, the Business and Industry Association engages in policy development roundtable discussions with business and opinion leaders in 14 locations throughout the state. And every summer, particularly in the Monadnock Region, Upper Valley and North Country, many roundtable participants express their frustration over lack of high-speed telecommunications infrastructure. In the global economy in which we all compete, this lack of high-speed access dampens economic development in these regions of the state, especially with potential high-tech companies where instant online communication is an absolute requirement.
FairPoint Communications' pending acquisition of Verizon's landline assets will help alleviate those frustrations. It will lead to expansion of our state's broadband infrastructure in underserved areas throughout New Hampshire, and result in the creation of new jobs.
Specifically, if approved by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, the transaction will result in:
-- $13.6 million in expanded broadband service in nearly 20 communities that will receive high-speed communications for the first time and another 47 that will benefit from expanded high-speed communications;
-- 250 new technical and administrative jobs (with strong wages and full benefits) in New Hampshire;
-- Current Verizon employees being retained with current pay and benefits; and ;
--Three new local service centers being created in the region to enhance customer service.FairPoint is already established in northern New England, providing service via 64,000 access lines. Ninety-two percent of FairPoint's current customers in the region have access to the company's broadband service. With the company's successful history of providing advanced telecommunications to small urban and rural areas, such as we have in New Hampshire, the company is well suited to serving our business and residential residents.
The Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire's state chamber of commerce and leading business advocate, believes in the sanctity of contracts between private parties. Barring some unforeseen concern identified by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, this deal should be approved because it is good for New Hampshire and northern New England.
Jim Roche is president and CEO of the Business and Industry Association.