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Fairpoint struggles with post-Verizon backlog

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Having transferred former Verizon customers to its own back office systems last month, Fairpoint Communications has been working hard to process a thick backlog of service orders and to reach a normal billing schedule.

The email problems reported in the press following the cutover from Verizon’s systems affected only a “small percentage” of Fairpoint customers, the company said today; it was mainly the result of insufficient help desk capacity, and it was “promptly resolved.”

However, during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report today, Fairpoint executives identified two issues they are still working to improve: order flow and billing.
Delays in fulfilling service orders – and the resulting customer frustration -- have also been reported in the local press lately. When Fairpoint brought Verizon’s network onto its own back office systems on February 9, 24,000 service orders were waiting in queue. In the four weeks since then, Fairpoint has fulfilled more than 60% of those requests, the company said today. But it missed installation due dates on 14% of new orders.

Fairpoint plans to keep hammering away at the backlog and resume normal operations in the second quarter.

In the meantime, Fairpoint has been fielding a wave of billing questions from customers, many of whom are complaining about late bills or want explanations for differences between Verizon and Fairpoint charges. Though the calls coming in are “about what we expected,” said Fairpoint President Peter Nixon, some errors are being made. Fairpoint originally expected to reach a normal recurring billing schedule by March 2 but now expects that to happen March 9.

The systems cutover itself was subject to multiple delays, scheduled first for September, then November, then January, before finally occurring in February.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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