FairPoint CEO Unsurprisingly 'Bullish' On Own Stock
Blames regulators, competitors for stock drop and lost customers...
by Karl Bode 09:22AM Wednesday Jan 14 2009 Tipped by myokitis
Since Verizon sold their networks in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont to Fairpoint Communications for $2.3 billion, many have wondered if Fairpoint has the business chops (and the cash) to both keep the network running well -- and to keep expanding it further than Verizon did, as promised. Fairpoint CEO Gene Johnson, despite losing both 80,000 customers and stock value during the bumpy integration, remains bubbly and optimistic, blaming customer defections and a dropping stock price on competitors and regulators:
quote:"There's a lot of reasons for it, but one of the reasons is that it took 14 months to get this deal approved and during that 14 months every competitor was fighting like crazy to get customers and to paint us in a bad light," Johnson said. "So we were starting with both hands tied behind us and it made it a real uphill battle from Day One."
Johnson insists there's "no rational basis" for their stock to have dropped from $8 a share to less than $3, saying he's "quite bullish" on the stock, and recently purchased 100,000 shares for himself. Of course Wall Street was quite rationally reacting to Fairpoint's initial trouble running New England 911 systems, and their three time delayed handover date. Fairpoint's paying Verizon $15 million a month to co-run the network until the official handover date at the end of this month -- the transition originally scheduled for last September.
The Fairpoint cutover from Verizon backroom computer systems is scheduled for Jan 31. To get ready customer changes will be frozen for a couple weeks.
From Jan. 23 to Feb. 9, the company won't process orders for new telephone service or add options to existing phone service. In the first week of February, customers should expect slower response time from customer service agents as employees familiarize themselves with the new system.
But nobody should lose telephone service, and 911 and repair services should go on as usual. Internet customers who now have Verizon e-mail accounts will get new e-mail addresses, but there will be a grace period in which the old addresses will continue to work.
Re: Bumpy cutover to new computer systems coming up
Obama will save them.
Now think of the airport gate scene from Dumb and Dumber and think of BO flashing a badge emblazoned with the presidential seal as he runs by people warning him while he shouts "its ok, I'm the president".
So far my experience with FairPoint has been OK. Actually even a little better then Verizon as I'm too far for 3000/768 DSL but FairPoint put through the upgrade. Happy with the extra speed.
FairPoint sent out a mailer recently that transition is effective 1/31/2009. They have new web site »www.myfairpoint.net/ but so far is is not yet up and running.
Be interesting to see how easy it will be to raise capital to roll out DSL to currently unserved areas and once they do that hopefully move to fiber. They better move fast before loss of landline revenue starts to hurt.
The infrastructure here in these three states have been left to rot. Who wants a subpar internet connection that rarely reaches advertised speed? There's no premier service that can be sold to people. When I say premier, i mean any service that is superior to other options in the region. I guarantee if FIOS was rolled out to its completion, people would be flocking to it no questions asked.
Unfortunately we're stuck with a capped and trottled Comcast, RR, or other small cable provider with no interest in really expanding the technology.
To start a WISP or ISP is going to take a few million and with the credit disaster.... They are not going to be able to get much money to start an ISP/WISP etc... Especially when it is going to take a LOT of rollout to get to a few customers. If it was fairly easy and profitable - a company would have done this already or Verizon would not have left...
Except you are talking about a larger range than a neighborhood and assume that they can get a fast connection to feed the WISP - something the area specifically seems to be lacking. If you can't get a fast connection to feed the WISP - then you are seriously limiting how many can connect and the area of country is fairly well known for being - rather isolated.
Again - if it was cheap enough and could make money then Verizon would not have packed the bags and other companies would be biting at the bit to get in on the goodness.
It is cheap enough to do. Its called you expand when you have the customers and the money to do so. You just don't start out nationwide over night-unless you resell DSL from DSL Extreme.
And why can't you get a fast connection to the 'Net from a Telco and a decent price? its called DON'T order from the ILEC.
But then again. another person that wants to bitch about their services without doing anything about it. When they could get their neighbors together and pipe in a couple T1s to share.
OH! and ATT does wireless. In AK. Why does everything have to be about VZ not doing something. OH and why would they want to do WISP services when they can rely on VZW to take that 5gig cap of EVDO service so you can go over and end up with a few thousand dollar cell phone bill.
I never said national now did I? Nope I did not but you insinuate I did. What ever.. If it is so easy and cheap I am sure you can make a killing since you have the know how - be an instant success in the specific part of the country this refers to.
Why? My area has great service. We actually have a family that cares about what we want. They make headlines here but only if the customers send it in. Why? Cause Karl only cares about FiOS, AT$T and saying how terrible Comcast is or ranting about one of their contractors and their services for the day.
True, my in-laws live up there and switched from Fairpoint to gwi.net because Fairpoint couldn't get decent DSL speeds to the house there in Maine. It turns out, neither can give good, consistent speeds. gwi.net is a *little* better, but not a lot. Geesh, invest in these state companies.