Part of the agreement with Maine’s Public Utilities Commission for Verizon to sell its Maine holdings to Fairpoint Communications was that Fairpoint would be required to provide universal landline access called “provider of last resort,” or POLR, across its entire coverage area.

This mandated that Fairpoint Communications provide landline service to rural and/or elderly customers who depend upon their telephones for access to emergency medical assistance, monitoring medical devices and because of mobility issues, contact with other services.

Fairpoint has sponsored a bill before the Legislature, L.D. 1302, that would relieve Fairpoint from the responsibility of being the POLR. In 2012 the Legislature passed a bill to allow Fairpoint to stop providing phone directories with residential listings except for customers that were enrolled in the “lifeline” program. The proposed legislation would allow them to drop this service as well.

In many areas of the state, cellphone coverage is spotty and certainly more expensive than landlines, and cable is not available to many rural locations.

I urge you to contact your representatives or senators to reject Fairpoint Communication’s request to improve their revenue stream by jeopardizing the lives of those most vulnerable.

Peter Froehlich

Whitefield