Fairpoint's Top Secret Improvement Plan
To be reviewed by the same regulators who failed the first time...
As Fairpoint continues to struggle
with taking ownership of Verizon's Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont DSL and landline networks, regulators have been pushing the carrier for a detailed timeline of planned improvements. Facing massive work backlogs of 40% and customers who sometimes spend hours on hold without ever reaching a human being, Fairpoint has announced a ten week plan to get things back on track.
The only problem? The company isn't letting the public see any part of the plan or how well they adhere to it
. Regulators will of course see Fairpoint's self-administered plan, though one could easily wonder if their judgment has improved. Keep in mind these are the same regulators who rushed to approve the $2.3 billion deal last year against the warnings of consumer advocates, employees, unions and analysts. From the New Hampshire Union Leader
In a filing with the New Hamsphire Public Utilities Commission, FairPoint said the information is either a trade secret or information related to competitive services, which is protected under state law. The PUC gets the data; the public doesn't. "We consider it to be competitive information, market information, that we don't want our competitors to know about," said FairPoint spokesman Jill Wurm.
Fairpoint might have better luck putting those efforts toward protecting employee data
, after the carrier announced this week they misplaced the personal info of some 4,400 employees. Competitors don't really need the data to target Fairpoint. Time Warner Cable is already running local ads (see user submitted pic
) aimed at annoyed customers. Obviously some data shouldn't be made public, but it doesn't make sense to not share concrete evidence of your progress with your own customers, given it could compel them to stick around.
Regardless, remember that Verizon was the big winner here. The baby bell used a sophisticated financial maneuver known as a Reverse Morris Trust
to dump a significant amount of debt on Fairpoint, grab about $600 million in tax writeoffs, and sell networks in three largely rural states they had absolutely no interest in upgrading.