FairPoint Communications said today that it’s planning to expand and upgrade broadband Internet service in 44 Maine towns in unserved locations or locations with low-speed access.

The announcement comes two weeks after the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved an agreement with the company over the terms of how it would expand service in rural areas.

The agreement also required FairPoint to extend broadband service to 85 percent of its customers by next August and 87 percent by April of 2014.

In today’s announcement, FairPoint said multiple neighborhoods in 44 towns will be upgraded or see new high-speed broadband access. These towns include: Alexander, Alton, Blanchard Township, Bowdoin, Bowerbank, Bradford, Brooksville, Caribou, Caswell, Chester, Clifton, Connor Township, Dedham, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Dresden, Eastbrook, Easton, Ellsworth, Fletcher’s Landing, Greenfield TWP, Greenville, Guilford, Hudson, Lagrange, Lincoln, Linneus, Masardis, Newburgh, Newport, Old Town, Orland, Parkman, Parsonsfield, Penobscot, Porter, Sangerville, Sargentville, Sedgwick, Surry, Topsham, Wilton, Winterport and Woodland.

“Broadband access opens doors to the world for the residents and businesses in Maine and is fundamental to the state’s future economic growth,” said Mike Reed, FairPoint’s Maine state president.

FairPoint said it will use $1.03 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund. The expansion will bring broadband access or offer higher speeds to approximately 6,000 locations, of which more than 1,659 locations qualify for the federal fund.

The work will span three years with about a third of the communities coming online each year, FairPoint said.

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