Fairpoint Communications customers might get a small sliver cut from their phone bills. It all depends on an upcoming Public Utilities Commission decision about how, exactly, the company can pay some hefty fees. As Bob Sanders reports for TheLobbyNH.com, the PUC recently slapped Fairpoint with $2.8 million in “penalties for inadequate service”:
“The PUC had previously ordered that the company pay off the penalties by 99 cents per month, per line. Consumers wouldn’t see a penny in the first month under that plan — scheduled to start April Fools Day — because of a previous decision to add 99 cents to the bill to make up for the legislative tax on poles.
But Fairpoint said if they do have to pay the penalty, they’d rather do it all up front. However, how much of a rebate that would mean per line and when it will actually happen is up in the air.
Fairpoint contends customers would be better served if it was able to expand its broadband service beyond the 85 percent currently required.”
Sanders writes the PUC agreed Fairpoint “could pay the penalty up front.” But, the commission also said it’d need more info from the telecom before it could make a call on the broadband expansion.
He also notes an argument among Fairpoint’s critics that when a company pumps fees back into its own infrastructure to sharpen its competitive edge it “isn’t a penalty at all.”