Any FairPoint changes must be set by today

If you’re planning to add or make changes to your FairPoint telephone or Internet service, do it today or you will have to wait until Feb. 9.

Starting Friday, FairPoint will place a hold on all service installations while it completes the long-awaited official cutover from Verizon systems.

The cutover process is the final step in the 10-month, $2 billion takeover of Verizon’s network in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. It begins Jan. 30.

The company will still accept service requests during the two-week period, but the work will be delayed. Repair calls will continue.Even after Feb. 9, when the cutover is complete, it will take FairPoint a little longer to respond to service requests because all new orders will have to be entered into the system, company officials said Wednesday.

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The cutover signals the official end of Verizon landline and DSL service in Northern New England. It comes two years after Verizon announced plans to sell to lesser-known FairPoint and a year after the deal was approved by state regulators in the three states.

The cutover was originally scheduled for September, but was twice delayed to allow FairPoint more time to prepare and train employees.

Jeffrey W. Allen, FairPoint’s executive vice president for external relations, said in an interview Wednesday that the cutover should save the company millions of dollars in expenses each month.

FairPoint has been paying Verizon $16 million a month to use its computer systems, but estimates it can operate its own for closer to $6 million a month.

Allen said most of the changes during the transition would not be obvious to customers.

“If you pick up the phone to make a phone call, nothing will change,” he said.

However, anyone who has an email address ending in “” will need to visit the FairPoint Web site to change the address to “” That is, “” will become “”

FairPoint guarantees that you can keep the same prefix – the part of the address before the @ sign; that username and passwords won’t change; and your past mail will remain accessible unless you use MSN Premium.

FairPoint is not offering a no-cost bundle of MSN Premium, as Verizon has done; people who want to keep their “” e-mail address must pay roughly $10 a month to Microsoft to keep that service. Mail sent to “” addresses will be forwarded until April 30; after that, it will disappear.