FCC OKs $2.7b Verizon-Fairpoint phone deal

Federal communications regulators cleared the way for Verizon Communications to sell its phone lines in three New England states for $2.7 billion to FairPoint Communications, a Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said FairPoint's stock fell to $12.44 in after-hours trading. Verizon shares added $0.48 to close at $42.47.

The Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-2 vote, said the proposed sale of Verizon's phone lines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine is 'unlikely' to result in any anticompetitive behavior or hurt the public interest, the report said.

The deal still needs formal approval from all three states, it added.

Under the deal, announced in January 2007, FairPoint would get Verizon's telephone operations, which serve about 1.6 million homes, along with internet service, the report further said.
Verizon is shedding its residential phone business to focus more on wireless and broadband services.

The FCC said the deal would enhance service in the region through investment, speed up deployment of high-speed internet, or broadband, service, and create 700 jobs, the report further said.