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FairPoint will fail to meet agreements

I've written a fair amount about how bad the FairPoint deal would be was, and is. But I'll hand it to the Concord Monitor, who not only were able to attend the tri-state grilling session, but also noticed a small detail that's going to blow up quickly.

FairPoint was able to convince state regulators in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont that broadband expansion was possible quickly, and that FairPoint would do it. That's the main reason FairPoint was allowed to buy Verizon's operations here. (And the company has already applied for taxpayer dollars to do some of that work.)

Now comes FairPoint to say they actually won't be able to do what they had promised - what state regulators had required. Oops! So sorry!

What regulators do about it next will tell the real tale. If they begin charging FairPoint penalties - in New Hampshire alone, the fine could reach into the millions of dollars - we consumers might find officials actually sticking up for us. But if they cave to the sad reality that FairPoint can't afford the fines (if it could, it would likely have spent that money doing the work...) and let FairPoint just skip out on its promises, then the deal will suddenly become even worse than it was.

Which is not to say we didn't warn you.

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