Tens of thousands of
FairPoint customers in Maine now have the option to become official
second-class citizens on the Internet, and the company is very proud, touting
the accomplishment in a press release (in PDF form here) and following it up with a cheery call
from a marketing person who couldn't answer any questions.
(To be fair, she
promised another person could answer my question about how many of the 31,000
FairPoint customers already had high-speed Internet through another provider,
or at least already had the option of getting it through, say, Time Warner
Cable. But that person, FairPoint spokesman Jeff Nevins, said he couldn't
actually answer it. He was helpful in other ways, though, which we're exploring
and will report more on shortly.)
But it's true — now
31,000 FairPoint customers can purchase DSL-speed Internet, which is not only
slower than Time Warner Cable's RoadRunner service, but is far slower than the
technology that is really the basis for all future high-speed Internet: fiber-optics. Heck, the US House of Representatives began considering a non-binding resolution calling for 100 megabit-per-second broadband speed to be universally available to all Americans by 2015.
That's the same year that FairPoint has promised it will have DSL service (3 megabits per second, according to FairPoint's release) to 90 percent of Maine households.
"This is just
the beginning," promised Nevins. The company has five years to roll out
DSL to more Mainers, and state telecom regulators have already promised that if
FairPoint doesn't meet the five-year deadline, they can have another year, with