9-3-13 10:15 AM EDT | Email Article

CoverageCo to bring cell service to Vermont's rural Orange and Lamoille counties utilizing FairPoint's 'small cell' backhaul technology

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP), a leading provider of advanced communications in northern New England, has been chosen as CoverageCo's lead carrier in making cell service available across more than 200 miles of rural Vermont, beginning with service in Orange County.

CoverageCo turned to FairPoint based on the breadth and depth of its network in northern New England, and its ability to deliver business-class Internet service, a requirement to meet CoverageCo's small cell backhaul needs. 

With the largest MPLS-based Carrier Ethernet network and more than 15,000 miles of fiber in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, FairPoint is the leading wireless backhaul provider to major wireless carriers in the region. FairPoint's network reaches more than 95 percent of all business addresses in northern New England.

"The growth of wireless network technologies and the proliferation of smart phones and tablets have fueled an unprecedented demand for wireless coverage," said Chris Alberding, FairPoint vice president of product management. "Consumers do not want to be without connectivity, even in rural areas.  Small cells are a fast-growing market segment because they can be used to increase the capacity of 4G networks, but can also be used to deliver service in hard-to-serve markets with challenging terrain and economic constraints."

"Small cell" backhaul refers to the technology that expands bandwidth capacity and closes gaps in wireless coverage. CoverageCo's IP-based network architecture relies upon small cells placed about a mile apart on telephone poles, steeples and other street-level structures. From there, data is "backhauled" through FairPoint's network and the public Internet to CoverageCo as IP (Internet Protocol) traffic.

Industry experts predict that the mobile industry will continue to grow at an exponential rate, with subscribers demanding more bandwidth and ubiquitous coverage. Small cell technology allows wireless providers to improve local coverage and bandwidth needs in their networks.

"CoverageCo chose FairPoint because it has the network, products, people and flexibility to meet the demand for mobile bandwidth and wireless coverage," said Richard Biby, CoverageCo CEO. "FairPoint already offers extensive backhaul coverage for wireless carriers in northern New England, so it was natural for us to utilize their small cell backhaul capabilities to meet our growing need."

CoverageCo is new to Vermont and does business with existing cellular providers through industry-standard roaming agreements. One of the benefits of the CoverageCo network is its compatibility with the two major wireless technologies in use today through existing consumer phones. Currently, most networks only support one type of cell technology, not both, limiting those who can roam onto a specific network.

CoverageCo received a $500,000 grant from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority for a 90-mile project. CoverageCo expects to extend the project an additional 125 miles through its own investment.

"FairPoint is a best practices example of utilizing its Carrier Ethernet network and other broadband services to create wireless backhaul solutions for mobile network operators," said Todd Day, senior industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "FairPoint uses its next-generation network to power low-, medium- and high-speed products that form the basis of its small cell backhaul transport solution. Its deep network coverage and proven track record in providing wireless backhaul solutions uniquely positions FairPoint to be the backhaul carrier that can provide the wireless carriers with virtually one-stop shopping in northern New England."

To learn more about small cell technologies, read, "Small Cell Technologies: The Evolution of Wireless Provider Solutions" published in March 2013 by Frost & Sullivan.

About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP) is a leading communications provider of broadband Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other high-capacity data services to customers in communities across 17 states. Through its fast, reliable fiber network, FairPoint delivers high-quality data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. FairPoint delivers VantagePointSM services through its resilient IP-based network in northern New England. This state-of-the-art fiber network provides carrier Ethernet connections to support the surging bandwidth and performance requirements for cloud-based applications like network storage, disaster recovery, distance learning, medical imaging, video conferencing and CAD/CAM along with traditional voice, VoIP, video and Internet access solutions. Additional information about FairPoint products and services is available at www.FairPoint.com. You can also connect with FairPoint on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/fairpoint) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/myfairpoint).

About CoverageCo
CoverageCo is an innovative new company focused on providing technology neutral cellular coverage to underserved markets throughout the United States. We are led by industry veterans from the tower, infrastructure, and carrier industries. Our customers are cellular carriers interested in providing an expanded footprint to their subscribers through an inbound roaming model. www.coverageco.com

SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.

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