FairPoint lights up 1 Gbps service for Portsmouth, N.H. customers

FairPoint Communications has entered the 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) game, announcing that it will deliver the higher speed service in Portsmouth, N.H., and a number of nearby communities over its existing last-mile network.

Although FairPoint acquired Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) New Hampshire FiOS assets in 2008, this is the first big push it made to deliver a 1 Gbps service to residential customers in its Northern New England footprint. The tier will also complement the high-speed Internet and Ethernet network services it provides to business customers.

Following fellow Tier 2 New Hampshire telco TDS Telecom, FairPoint's 1 Gbps service is competitively priced at $84.99 a month for consumers and $145.99 per month for business customers.

But 1 Gbps is just one element of a broader effort by the telco to offer a new set of higher speed broadband services. It will also offer download speeds starting at 150 Mbps up to 1 Gbps, and upload speeds starting at 75 Mbps up to 1 Gbps. Additionally, FairPoint is also offering a symmetrical 1 Gbps service.

Portsmouth is not the only New Hampshire town that will get the 1 Gbps service. Beginning in December, FairPoint will start offering the tier to select residents and businesses eligible for its fiber-based services in Greenland, New Castle, Newington, Rye and Stratham. Similar to TDS's Fiberville and Google Fiber's Fiberhood programs, customers in these areas can register to be notified when service becomes available at www.fairpoint.com/1gig.

Offering a 1 Gbps service, particularly in areas where it already has FTTP infrastructure makes sense as it would enable FairPoint to more effectively pose a larger challenge to area cable operators like Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which offers 100 Mbps speeds and above in the area.

It could also potentially give FairPoint another weapon to turn around its residential broadband losses. During the third quarter, the service provider lost 1,338 subscribers to end the quarter with a total of 313,982 broadband subscribers.

Business customers, such as small businesses that have large bandwidth needs or larger businesses' branch offices, could also gain from a 1 Gbps service to fulfill their customer's demands or conduct file backup. 

For more:
- see the release

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