Publisher's Note: Fairpoint’s opportunity?
By Jody Reese
There’s a better than even chance Fairpoint Communications will file for bankruptcy. What that means to New Hampshire is unclear, though many will find opportunity in it. It’s unlikely service would be shut off, but monies that flow to local charities from Fairpoint would likely take a hit.
Earlier this year the state helped Fairpoint by letting it take out $50 million set aside by Verizon in a special account to fund big projects in the state, such as expanded broadband Internet options. In exchange, Fairpoint promised to spend $65 million in the state before 2012. It’ll be a hard promise for the state to enforce.
The problems at Fairpoint reflect the aged nature of how this state and most others regulate utilities. The Fairpoints of the world are no longer monopolies. They compete against a lot of local businesses that sell dish connections, cable connections, and phone and Internet service. That’s readily reflected in that neither Hippo nor I personally are customers.
While you never want to see a business fail, especially one such as Fairpoint with its employees, charitable giving and many local vendors, new business life springs from failure. That’s one of the more impressive qualities New Hampshire residents possess: when we lose our jobs many of us open our own businesses.
Mayor’s national exposure
Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta got quite a bit of national attention lately, all unwanted, I would guess. The mayor was present during a barroom fight where a Manchester resident broke his leg. To make matters worse, the mayor left the scene without calling the police and didn’t mention it until rumors starting flying. The Manchester Express broke the story (This prompted the mayor to call the Manchester Express upset about the article and tell them he would never speak to the reporter again. The article is available at www.manchexpress.com under the June 29, 2009, date) and it went national from there. Now when you Google or bing the mayor’s name the bar fight comes up on the first or second page. In addition, his Wikipedia entry now includes the bar fight information as a chapter in his life.
This all seems a bit much for simply being present at a bar fight; but really the mayor brought this on himself by not calling police and then by trying to avoid involvement and finally by refusing to address it head on. He even claimed to have not seen the fight, though he was there, according to him, to make sure nothing like that happened. Now we’re in the second week of this story and it continued with NHPR doing a story about it this past weekend. The mayor was unavailable to comment to NHPR or WMUR Channel 9 about the incident, but had time to issue a press release praising former U.S. Senator John Sununu.
All in all not a good start to the mayor’s run for Congress. Perhaps next time he’ll learn to deal with such questions in a forthright manner.