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Comment Sought on Domestic 214 Transfer of FairPoint to Blackfoot

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Released: December 13, 2012


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-2021

Released: December 13, 2012





WC Docket No. 12-351

Comments Due: December 27, 2012
Reply Comments Due: January 3, 2013

On December 6, 2012, FairPoint Communications, Inc. (FairPoint), Fremont Telcom Co.
(Fremont), Fretel Communications, LLC (Fretel) and Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, Inc. d/b/a
Blackfoot Telecommunications Group (Blackfoot) (collectively, Applicants) filed an application,
pursuant to section 63.03 of the Commission’s rules,1 for the transfer of control of Fremont and Fretel
from FairPoint to Blackfoot. Applicants do not request streamlined processing of the application.
FairPoint, a Delaware corporation, operates 33 local exchange companies in 18 states, including
Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New
Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. In each of
these geographic areas, FairPoint’s products and services include local and long distance voice, data,
Internet broadband, television, and business communications solutions. Fremont, an Idaho rural
incumbent local exchange carrier (LEC), and Fretel, an Idaho competitive LEC and non-dominant
interexchange carrier, provide local exchange and exchange access services, as well as domestic interstate
interexchange services, to approximately 5,000 customers in Idaho and a small number of customers in
Montana. The Applicants state neither Fretel’s competitive LEC service area, nor Fremont’s incumbent
LEC service area, overlap with or are adjacent to Blackfoot’s incumbent LEC service, or Blackfoot
Communications, Inc.’s (BCI) current competitive LEC service area.2
Blackfoot, a Montana telephone cooperative corporation owned by its member-subscribers,
provides services as an incumbent LEC, serving approximately 14,000 access line equivalents in twenty-
one exchanges in western Montana and one exchange (Powell) in Powell, Idaho, over a 6,500 square

1 47 C.F.R § 63.03; see 47 U.S.C. § 214. Applicants are also filing applications for transfer of control associated
with authorizations for wireless and international services. Any action on this domestic section 214 application is
without prejudice to Commission action on other related, pending applications. Applicants filed supplements to
their application on December 10 and 11, 2012.
2 Applicants filed a list of all the affected exchanges. See Letter from Karen Brinkmann, Counsel to FairPoint
Communications, Inc., to Marlene H. Dortch, FCC, WC Docket No 12-351 (filed December 11, 2012).

mile, eight county regions. Blackfoot’s wholly owned subsidiary, BCI, provides services as a competitive
local exchange carrier in Missoula and Great Falls, Montana, providing service to approximately 6,000
access line equivalents. BTC Holdings, Inc. (BTC), Blackfoot’s wholly owned subsidiary, is organized
under the laws of Montana.
The proposed transfer of control will be accomplished by FairPoint’s sale of all of the capital
stock and membership interest in Fremont and Fretel to BTC. Upon consummation of the proposed
transaction, the sale will give BTC, and ultimately Blackfoot, control of Fremont and Fretel, including
their blanket domestic 214 authorizations. Applicants assert that a grant of the application will serve the
public interest, convenience, and necessity. Applicants state that Blackfoot will operate Fremont and
Fretel in a manner virtually transparent to their customers, by continuing to provide the same services at
the same rates, terms and conditions. Applicants maintain that Blackfoot will have a greater access to
economies of scale and scope as well as substantial financial, human, engineering, technical, marketing,
and information resources in the region. Applicants contend that access to these economies and resources
will enable Blackfoot to make the infrastructure investments and operational adjustments necessary for it
to compete successfully in the rapidly changing telecommunications industry.


The transfer of control identified herein has been found, upon initial review, to be acceptable for
filing as a non-streamlined application. The Commission reserves the right to return any transfer
application if, upon further examination, it is determined to be defective and not in conformance with the
Commission’s rules and policies. Pursuant to section 63.03(a) of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §
63.03(a), interested parties may file comments on or before December 27, 2012, and reply comments on
or before January 3, 2013.
Pursuant to section 63.52 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 63.52,
commenters must serve a copy of comments on the Applicants no later than the above comment filing
Pursuant to section 63.03 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR § 63.03, parties to this proceeding
should file any documents in this proceeding using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System

In addition, e-mail one copy of each pleading to each of the following

1) Tracey Wilson, Competition Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau,;
2) Dennis Johnson, Competition Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau,;
3) David Krech, Policy Division, International Bureau,; and
4) Jim Bird, Office of General Counsel,
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (tty).
The proceeding in this Notice shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in
accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.3 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a

3 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200 et seq.

copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two
business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b), 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize
themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
For further information, please contact Tracey Wilson at (202) 418-1394 or Dennis Johnson at
(202) 418-0809.
- FCC -

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