PORTLAND, Maine, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications commends the recent regulatory reforms in northern New England, saying the moves are important for consumers since they enable the company to react to market pressures more quickly. In addition, they will reduce the company's exposure to unnecessary penalties by more than $31 million. "This is a big step forward for FairPoint. This regulatory reform addresses the dramatic change in communications technology and further enables competition," said FairPoint CEO Paul Sunu. "We applaud the legislators in Maine and New Hampshire, as well as the regulators in Vermont, for being proactive in eliminating unneeded regulations and crafting pro-competitive regulations. The reforms recognize the need to promote a competitive marketplace and they encourage innovation and continued investment in telecommunications services." The company had set regulatory reform as one of its top strategic objectives for 2012. This year's regulatory reforms in northern New England follow a trend of telecommunications regulatory reform in a number of states across the United States. The reforms come as states respond to increasing competition and the view that over-regulation limits customer choice, innovation and investment. FairPoint is the sixth largest wireline company, operating in 18 states with more than 1.3 million access line equivalents. The reform effort is a significant achievement for FairPoint because 80 percent of its customer base is in northern New England and its state-of-the-art fiber network serves all three states. About VermontThe Vermont Public Service Board in January approved a four-year regulatory plan for FairPoint Communications that takes an important first step toward ensuring fair industry competition while providing pricing flexibility and protections for consumers. Under the new plan, which expires in 2015, FairPoint no longer needs Public Service Board approval to offer competitive pricing - a step that, in the past, has taken as much as seven weeks to approve. The new rules also allow FairPoint pricing flexibility on all its services except basic local exchange voice service. Local voice service prices are frozen for two years and then price increases are allowed within specified limits after that. Basic rates will continue to be uniform across the state.