— Service-Quality Improvements, Broadband Expansion and Job Protections Among Conditions Required by the Public Service Commission in Merger of FairPoint Communications and Consolidated Communications —
ALBANY — The New York State Public Service Commission conditionally approved a transfer of stock to allow the sale of FairPoint Communications and three of its New York subsidiaries – the Berkshire, the Chautauqua and Erie, and the Taconic telephone companies – to Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. of Mattoon, Ill.
Public Service Commission Conditionally Approves Financial Transactions
for the Sale of Three Local Telephone Corporations in New York
On January 13, 2017, Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. (CCH) and FairPoint Communications, Inc. (FCI) filed a Joint Petition with the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) seeking approval for FCI to transfer certain telephone, broadband and cable assets to CCH. Under the transaction, CCH will acquire FCI and its subsidiaries operating in New York, including Berkshire Telephone Corporation, Chautauqua and Erie Telephone Corporation, Taconic Telephone Corporation and FairPoint Business Services.
CCH and FCI function as holding companies and do not offer telecommunication services on their own. The Joint Petition seeks a change of ownership at the holding company level. CCH, which currently does not provide telecommunications services in the state, plans to retain all of FCI’s existing assets in New York.
If the transaction is approved, CCH will own and/or manage certain broadband, voice and cable video systems serving communities in Chautauqua, Columbia, Dutchess and Rensselaer counties. According to the petition, the proposed transaction will occur solely at the holding company level and customers would not experience any immediate changes in services, rates, terms or conditions of service.
The petitioners assert that New York consumers will benefit from the merger because:
- the combined company will be able to offer advanced products and services and expanded customer choice for telecommunications and broadband;
- the transfer is expected to improve broadband coverage and speed. CCH has made it a priority to upgrade the broadband capability of the FCI subsidiary networks;
- CCH’s record of high quality customer service; and
- over time, New York consumers may expect to see new services not currently offered in all markets, including video, home automation and security services
A copy of the petition is located in the case file on the www.dps.ny.gov website under Case 17-C-0050.
Methods for Commenting on the Case
- Via the Department’s Website: Comments may be entered directly into the case via the www.dps.ny.gov website. From the homepage, click on “Search,” and enter 17-C-0050 in the “Search by Case Number” field. After clicking to open the case, enter comments in the “Post Comments” section located at the top of the page.
- Via Mail/E-Mail: Submit comments electronically to Kathleen H. Burgess, Secretary, at email@example.com or by mail or delivery to Secretary Burgess at the Department of Public Service, Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12223-1350.
- Toll-Free Opinion Line: Individuals may choose to submit comments by calling the Commission’s toll-free Opinion Line at 1-800-335-2120. This line is set up to receive in-state calls 24-hours a day. Callers should press “1” to leave comments about “Case 17-C-0050 Joint Petition of FairPoint and Consolidated”. Comments received via the Opinion Line are not transcribed, but a summary is provided to the Commission for their consideration.
All comments will become part of the record considered by the Commission. Comments will be accepted at any point while this proceeding is pending, but are requested by June 5, 2017 to ensure full consideration.
For a printable version, please click here 17-C-0050 FairPoint factsheet.pdf.