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#606163 - 12/11/16 06:55 AM FairPoint Sale  
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I guess we all knew it was coming...

-Article-

The question I have is; Does anybody know what Consolidated is all about? And, what do I have to look forward to as this company takes over up here in the frozen north?

Here's another article, as it relates to the unions:

Fierce Telecom Article

eBay 5 this slot is for sale at $289
#606166 - 12/11/16 12:12 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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I'm not familiar with them. Never came across their name during my IXC/CLEC career. eh


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#606175 - 12/11/16 09:06 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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A friend and fellow telephone museum member put together this e-mail about Consolidated. Maybe he copied it from somewhere. It included pictures and was better formatted than this forum post can do. I can forward the e-mail to anyone that's interested.

Since Consolidated will soon become a part of our lives with its acquisition of FairPoint, it is interesting that it started as a small Independent, Mattoon (IL) Telephone Co. which grew to Illinois Consolidated Telephone Co. (That's where the "Consolidated" name derived from).

Here is the story from 1894 to 2016!
The Beginning

Dr. Iverson A LumpkinDr. William C Lumpkin Shortly after the Civil War, a young man named Iverson A. Lumpkin came to central Illinois, eventually settling in Mattoon. He was one of the pioneering people who built homes, started schools, founded churches and brought industry to the prairie.

Dr. Lumpkin, a dentist by profession, was a visionary. Technology had always intrigued him, and he quickly recognized the potential in new inventions like the telephone and later, the automobile. He saw that a communications network encompassing both telephone lines and paved roads was vital to the growth of rural Illinois.

By 1894, Dr. Lumpkin was convinced that Alexander Graham Bell's little marvel, invented only 18 years before, would play an important role in the future of Mattoon. Earlier efforts to provide telephone service to Mattoon had failed. A subsidiary of the Bell System's Central Union Telephone Company started operations with one switchboard and 20 subscribers in 1881, but within three years, operations were suspended. Over the next few years, other attempts met similar fates. But by 1894 the original Bell patents had expired, making it possible for independent telephone companies to be formed.

On August 10, 1894, the Mattoon Telephone Company was incorporated, with Dr. Lumpkin serving as the first president, and his son, Dr. William C. Lumpkin, also a dentist, serving as treasurer. On September 4, 1894, the City of Mattoon passed an ordinance granting the new company the right to operate.

As the new company prepared to serve its first customers, Dr. Lumpkin demonstrated his confidence in both the future of the telephone and the growth of Mattoon. As he left for Chicago to buy the company's first switchboard, he declined the advice of business associates who believed a 25-line switchboard would be adequate for Mattoon's needs for the foreseeable future. Instead, he returned with a 250-line switchboard.

And on April 20, 1895, when Mattoon Telephone Company began service from offices at 114 S. 17th Street, his confidence was justified as 175 customers had signed up for the new service. To mark the event, Dr. Lumpkin chose 1-7-5 as his telephone number. At the close of the century, Mattoon Telephone Company was serving over 400 telephone customers, employing 10 operators and three linemen.

Dr. William Lumpkin had organized the Coles County Telephone and Telegraph Company to provide service between Mattoon and surrounding communities.

Adversity & Expansion

Mattoon Telephone Company faced its share of problems typical of the industry...ice storms that snapped lines, poles toppled by high winds, floods...all putting the infant technology in peril.But the worst disaster occurred in the very early years. On a hot, humid July 3, 1901, a fire broke out in the Demaree Building, completely destroying the offices of the Mattoon Telephone Company and the Coles County Telephone and Telegraph.

Dr. Lumpkin and his son immediately went to work, directing the installation of a second-hand switchboard to restore service. Within days, they had ordered a new 600-line switchboard and started construction of a three-story brick building at 117 S. 17th Street. Completed in just 90 days, that new building was to serve as the company's headquarters until well into the 1970's.

Between 1906 and 1935, a series of acquisitions and mergers shaped what was eventually to become Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company (ICTC).

Richard Adamson LumpkinRichard Anthony LumpkinIn 1924, following the untimely death of Dr. William Lumpkin, his son, Richard Adamson Lumpkin, became general manager at the age of 27. He continued the growth and expansion process set in motion by his father and grandfather.

That same year he organized Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company, acquiring telephone companies in Christian and Montgomery Counties.

In 1926, Coles County Telephone merged with the telephone company in Shelbyville to become Illinois Southeastern Telephone Company serving Shelbyville and parts of Coles County. In 1935, ICTC and Illinois Southeastern Telephone Company also merged under the Illinois Consolidated Telephone Company name.

Over the next decades, ICTC grew along with the communities it served. A significant milestone came in 1960 with the acquisition of the Effingham exchange from Illinois Bell. The company continued to add other exchanges throughout the 60s and 70s.

In the fall of 1975, ICTC occupied its first new offices since 1901 when the newly remodeled building at 121 South 17th Street was opened. Also in 1975, an addition began to the operating building at 1501 Charleston to make room for new electronic switching equipment.

In 1977, Richard Anthony Lumpkin was named president of ICTC. In 1984, he became president of the newly formed Consolidated Communications, Inc.(CCI), parent company of ICTC, Consolidated Communications Directories, and Consolidated Market Response. After the death of his father in 1989, Richard Anthony Lumpkin was named chairman of the board at CCI.

100 Years & Going Strong



On September 4, 1994, ICTC marked its centennial and proudly celebrated a century of service to east central Illinois.

Continued Growth & Expansion

1997 - ICTC, along with other subsidiaries of then-Consolidated Communications, Inc., merged with McLeodUSA.
July 2002 - An investment group, headed by ICTC Chairman and President Richard A. Lumpkin entered into an agreement to purchase ICTC and the other related subsidiaries from McLeodUSA. The sale closed on December 31, 2002, and the company name was changed to Consolidated Communications, Inc.
April 2004 - Consolidated Communications completed the purchase of Texas-based TXU Communications, which is comprised of the former Lufkin-Conroe Telephone Exchange and Fort Bend Communications.
December 2007 - The former North Pittsburgh Systems Inc., and its companies North Pittsburgh Telephone Co., Nauticom and Penn Telecom, joined the Consolidated Communications family on Dec. 31, 2007.
July 2012 - Consolidated Communications completed the purchase of SureWest Communications, extending the company's reach to Roseville and Sacramento, California and Kansas City.
October 2014 - Consolidated Communications completed a merger with Enventis Corporation, adding operations in Minnnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas to the company's portfolio.
July 2016 - Consolidated Communications acquired Champaign Telephone Company (CTC), a private business communications provider in the Champaign-Urbana, Ill. area.

Last edited by hawk82; 12/11/16 09:07 PM.
#606177 - 12/11/16 11:13 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Hopefully the current company still somewhat follows the direction of it's founder, Dr. Lumpkin. Perhaps the future of New England's telecommunications grid is looking brighter.

Fairpoint really got off to a bad start. I wasn't following telecom news in those days, so I can't make an intelligent argument one way or another. It seems to me the criminals that are Verizon left this area in shambles when they sold out to FP originally. Their records were lousy, equipment was left in various states of disrepair, and it was general mayhem as far as the industry went. Once FP took over, they weren't prepared to tackle the problems Verizon left them and the large expansion they had just bought themselves. Service went to hell and they lost customers they would never get back. My experience with FP has been nothing but positive, but from what I gather I am in the minority. I left a message on their website asking about the costs of various levels of service and I was promptly called back. I was given a pretty wide range of options and they were all explained clearly to me. I was able to make an informed decision then and there and ordered service. By the time I got home from work that SAME night, my service was working and had no problems.

The gripe I personally have with FP is the lack of alternatives for broadband service. In many of the smaller surrounding towns there is fiber to the premises. In non-FP areas around here (mostly TDS Telecom) there has been fiber to the premises for even longer. However, Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire, has absolutely ZERO fiber. I can't say I want to trade in my copper just yet, but for internet our only real choice is Comcast. FP's DSL just doesn't cut it these days. The maximum speed in the city is about 15Mbps, and it varies geographically. They say they offer up to 30, but unless you're within a few blocks of the CO you can forget about that. I'm on the outskirts, I'd be lucky to get 5. That's a long way off the 250Mbps I currently get from Comcast.

I think FP would probably have substantially more subscribers if fiber were widely available. It's a catch 22 for them. They need subscribers to be able to afford the fiber buildout, but they cant get the subs without the fiber. I know most of the area would love a viable alternative to Comcast. Their service is .....ok..... around here, but not without it's problems. After the big business phone outage a few months ago, every take out place in the city was LIVID. The problem is Comcast can give them voice service WAY cheaper than FP. Like I said to one pizza place, Would you have made enough money that night if you had FP service to pay that month's phone bill? The answer is of course yes. To me it comes off as paying more for reliability. What if that outage had dragged on into the next day, or for a couple days? Comcast is not a phone company, and we desperately need a phone company up here to step up to the plate and offer us a real alternative. Here's hoping Consolidated is going to do that!

#606178 - 12/12/16 12:21 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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I hope Consolidated does something with the employees. FP morale is at an all time low. Nearly every single employee that I've met is beaten down, angry, sad, etc. Many absolutely do not care about their work. "Not my job" is a common slogan. They are there for a paycheck only. Perhaps this is just the copper telco industry as a whole.

#606179 - 12/12/16 01:19 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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If my memory is correct, the vast majority of FairPoint technicians post expansion were former Verizon employees. They just changed hats & badges, much the way I did with the first two mergers I went through as an employee of Allnet Communication Services. The final merger between Global Crossing and Level(3) was an exception as both companies had switch sites in Boston and surrounding areas.

I remember FairPoint being an ILEC in parts of Maine. I could call up to their COs and talk with their techs. They were leery about the expansion.


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#606182 - 12/12/16 02:15 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: hawk82]  
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Originally Posted By: hawk82
I hope Consolidated does something with the employees. FP morale is at an all time low. Nearly every single employee that I've met is beaten down, angry, sad, etc. Many absolutely do not care about their work. "Not my job" is a common slogan. They are there for a paycheck only. Perhaps this is just the copper telco industry as a whole.


I work on the side for a small business owner. Far cry from a major player like FP, but hear me out. From my experience working for a business with VERY limited funds, I can sympathize with the FP workers. I know there's more to keeping employees happy than just a fat paycheck, but when you work for someone who is pretty much broke, it's always a struggle. Working with aging, decrepit equipment, not having enough help, not having an employer that cares, or that can't afford to care, can really take its toll. 20 years ago, when the world ran on dial-up and just about everyone had more than a single line, voip wasn't a thing, and cell phones were obnoxiously expensive, there would be absolutely no excuse for FP's treatment of their employees. They have been running so lean for so long that it breeds this kind of "Don't Care, Not my problem" mentality. This is a classic case of adapt or die and FP never adapted. It breaks my heart to type these words but it is the inevitable truth... copper landline phone service is dead. FP hasn't really done much of anything around here to update their network and they're losing market share because of it. For the average residential customer around here (and likely elsewhere) no one cares about home phone service. Everyone has a cell phone and it works. What every house needs, though is internet. FP has totally dropped the ball in that arena. Even the few areas they do have fiber offerings, the speed tiers are slow when compared to comcast's offerings. Commercial customers are only a slightly different story. They all need data bandwidth in addition to fixed telephone service. Whether that fixed service is POTS, VoIP, or some combination, there's a definite need. I've told my boss time and time again that having his burglar alarm on a Comcast voice line is asking for trouble. Problem is, both FP and Comcast jack up their rates for business customers for the exact same service you would get at home. All he needs is a single POTS line, and because comcast is cheaper, that's who provides service. He also runs everything as lean as he can, taking risks like running the alarm panel like this. 99% of the time it works, but one time it doesn't..... Hopefully a new player will see this inequity and become competitive in the market. Consolidated will definitely have their work cut out for them straightening out the mess up here and updating the infrastructure to meet the needs of this century and beyond.

#606184 - 12/12/16 04:08 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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I've definitely heard of Consolidated. Just like I had heard of Continental, United, Central Telephone, Century and many other smaller independent telcos. What we are starting to see is the sad cycle of life.

These independents came through humble beginnings and for the most part, remained small. The big boys that formed along the way, like AT&T/Bell System, General Telephone, etc. had the deep pockets to invest in the infrastructure of the major cities and did it well. They got to cherry pick their markets. As recently as a few years ago, you still saw that. Bell companies still commanded the larger metropolitan areas and GTE (General) picked up the surrounding suburbs (for example, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, etc.)

Little guys like Consolidated got to pick from the remnants of what was left. This spawned hundreds of smaller independents, which over the years grew and merged, becoming bigger little guys. Continental Telephone System became Contel. Central became CenTel. United Telephone System and CenTel became Sprint. Alltel became Windstream, Century Telephone System became CenturyTel, and so on.

At the same time, the big boys got bigger and bigger. Bell Atlantic absorbed almost all Bell operations in the northeast, eventually becoming Verizon. Southwestern Bell (SBC) gobbled up just about all of the Bell territories in the south, southeast, midwest and west coast and eventually reverted back to their original parent company's name, at&t (yes, the lower-case is intentional, as the original company was AT&T). Those pesky trademark and marketing things, you know...

That wasn't enough for Verizon. They also bought GTE's territories as far west as Hawaii. A few years earlier, GTE had also bought Continental's (Contel's) territories nationwide as well, so overnight, Verizon became HUGE. So did at&t.

Over time, the big boys got tired of having to work for their money, so they started selling off parts of their operations to save money. This is comparable to your eyes being too big for your stomach when ordering food at a restaurant. The big boys were full and didn't want to eat anymore. They got a belly ache and had to expunge what they had eaten. Down the toilet their adventures started to go.

Verizon dumped northern New England to FairPoint, and eventually all of their GTE markets except for Virginia went to Frontier. at&t has started lobbying to allow themselves out of the requirement to provide ILEC services altogether in many markets.

Now, the little guys are growing up and taking these markets. For the first time in US Telecommunications history, CenturyTel, once the #5 independent recently took over the former Bell territory QWest (formerly US West). This huge takeover covered just about every state from Arizona to Idaho and east to North Dakota. That's a big chunk of Bell territory that became independent overnight.

What we are seeing is that the big boys are getting old and heading out to pasture. The little boys are stepping up and filling in for them. Just like with people, we're born drinking from a bottle and wearing diapers and we go out the same way. Only time will tell if the little guys can do the job.

#610772 - 06/01/17 05:53 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Has anyone heard anything further on this? This was big news 6 months ago and seems to have dropped out of sight. I could have sworn something significant was supposed to happen or have happened by now. Anybody?

#610779 - 06/01/17 01:24 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Waiting for state approval. It involves 3 states and all three PUCs need to approve it.


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#610793 - 06/01/17 11:43 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Ahh. Thanks, Merritt!

#610801 - 06/02/17 11:06 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Here is the latest news.

News story

#610810 - 06/02/17 06:41 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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Merritt, what do you think about this.

Ken

#610821 - 06/03/17 12:22 AM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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It should be good Fairpoint has struggled ever since they bought a mess from Verizon. Because of the poor condition of the infrastructure Verizon left Fairpoint has never had any money to upgrade as they have been doing repairs since they got it.


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#610829 - 06/03/17 07:56 PM Re: FairPoint Sale [Re: ChrisRR]  
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I am cautiously optimistic. At least Consolidated is a real phone company and not a venture capitalist firm like Fairpoint was.


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