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FairPoint continues to screw up

At least it's in New Hampshire this time. Last month I explained why the FairPoint takeover is so terrible, and explored all the things that are going wrong, including the painful - and dangerous - failures of the E-911 emergency phone system. (See "We Told You So," July 4.

But early last week, FairPoint customers in wide swaths of New Hampshire had no dial tone at all for something like 11 hours. Helpfully, a daily paper - in keeping with that industry's trend to tell you yesterday's news tomorrow - had as a headline "Lakes Region Phones Down for 11 Hours." And the local TV station did one better - "Telephone Problems in Large Part of N.H. Fixed."

Also helpfully, both the Union Leader and WMUR TV asked about emergency calls during that time. In the WMUR report, the director of the state's Department of Safety suggested people need to be prepared to "get in the car and drive to the local fire station or police station to seek help there." And he told the Union Leader that while E-911 dispatchers were at work and ready to receive calls, "if someone needed an ambulance, they couldn't call 911 with no dial tone."

The system is breaking. FairPoint is counting on keeping its customers happy - and keeping more of them happier than Verizon was. This is not a good beginning.

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