Why FairPoint deal will work
To the editor:
In 2006 I restarted Arnett Development Group LLC, a New Hampshire-based company with a focus on economic development via technology.
Previously, I served as the New Hampshire director of the Division of Economic Development for eight years. My responsibilities included chairing the Telecommunications Planning and Development Initiative, including issuing a Telecom Master Plan. This summer, we were contracted to help design an innovative economic development strategy for New Hampshire, should the sale of Verizon’s landlines to FairPoint Communications be allowed. This allowed me to see firsthand why this would benefit our economy.
First, FairPoint will invest in the economic development of key rural areas in New Hampshire. Using methods that have worked well elsewhere – but carefully designed to reflect New Hampshire’s unique needs – this will be a real boost to areas that need it most.
Second, as identified by the state Telecommunications Initiative, FairPoint ownership addresses key economic infrastructure issues:
• Status quo landline ownership is not providing statewide access for all small and rural businesses. Prolonging Verizon ownership stagnates the state’s competitive position.
• The state’s unique terrain requires a mixture of technologies, and a collaborative approach to finding delivery solutions. FairPoint brings a mix of technologies for locally appropriate solutions, and is actively listening to local ideas.
• The availability of high-speed services only address half of the challenge, that of supply. The demand for productive Internet services comes from a knowledgeable customer. Educating customers about the best ways to use this tool requires a patient and long-term business partner, a FairPoint hallmark.
• FairPoint Communications has an exemplary record of improving access to, and utilization of, broadband in areas that face economic challenges similar to New Hampshire’s.
For these reasons, I support the sale of assets to FairPoint, and urge approval. It is an overdue investment in our region’s economic infrastructure.
Stuart T. Arnett
Arnett Development Group LLC