SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Feb. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Vermont Public Service Board today approved a plan that will see FairPoint Communications investing nearly $7 million to expand its broadband network and bring high-speed Internet to "last-mile" Vermonters. FairPoint was joined in its request by the Vermont Department of Public Service, which agreed that investing past penalty assessments for broadband buildout helps achieve the state's goal to bring high-speed Internet service to all Vermonters. "The Board's decision now allows FairPoint Communications to redirect past penalties from 2008, 2009 and 2010 and put them to a much better use," said Mike Smith, Vermont state president for FairPoint. "This is great news for Vermonters and it advances Governor Shumlin's goal of universal broadband and cellular coverage by the end of 2013," Smith said. "The Governor and the Legislature know that high-speed Internet availability will economically benefit all Vermonters and is a key milestone to Vermont's future success; this creative use of funding will help get broadband to more Vermonters," Smith added. Since 2008, FairPoint has invested almost $80 million and added 1,100 miles of new fiber in Vermont. Nearly 90 percent of FairPoint customers in Vermont now have high-speed access. FairPoint Communications will work with the Department of Public Service and Vermont Telecommunications Authority to select areas for expansion from the state's list of target communities. Projects are slated to be completed in 2013. About FairPoint Communications, Inc.FairPoint Communications, Inc. (NasdaqCM: FRP) is a leading communications provider of high-speed Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other broadband services to customers in communities across 18 states. Through its fast, reliable network, FairPoint delivers affordable data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. FairPoint delivers VantagePoint(SM) services through its resilient IP-based network in northern New England. This state-of-the-art network provides Ethernet connections that support video conferencing, e-learning and other broadband based applications. 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/myfairpoint) and Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/myfairpoint). SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.