"This levels the playing field when it comes to offering competitive pricing," said Mike Smith, FairPoint's Vermont state president. "We have the team and the technology to go head to head with anyone; now we can compete in real time."The new plan recognizes the strides FairPoint has made in improving and maintaining high standards of customer service. It substantially reduces the amount of service quality penalties FairPoint could be subject to, to a maximum of $1.65 million per year, down from $10.5 million per year. With continued strong service quality performance, automatic penalties will be eliminated in 2013. About New Hampshire In New Hampshire, the legislation allows telecommunications providers to compete more effectively and confirms that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services and IP-enabled services are not subject to regulation. It also preserves incumbent local exchange carrier obligations to serve as the carrier of last resort and ensures that all residents have an affordable basic service option for phone service. The new law provides regulatory freedom for all retail products and services, and allows FairPoint flexibility to quickly adjust its pricing to respond to changes in the marketplace. Also, it removes longstanding regulatory requirements, including burdensome recordkeeping and financial penalties that inhibit competition, drain resources and increase expenses. "The legislation puts in place much needed regulatory reform reflecting today's competitive realities," said Pat McHugh, FairPoint's New Hampshire state president. "The current regulatory system, which was created 100 years ago, had become completely outdated because of changes in the telecommunications marketplace." McHugh stated that the regulatory reform legislation eliminated the previously imposed New Hampshire retail service penalty scheme that exposed FairPoint, and no other carrier in New Hampshire, to penalties in the amount of $12.5 million per year. About Maine The legislation passed in Maine - the first fundamental overhaul of the state's regulatory statute since 1913 – also moves the regulatory requirements of all telecommunications providers closer to parity. "The legislation is a bold step forward and recognizes that the industry is going through a period of dramatic change," said Mike Reed, FairPoint's Maine state president. "Vigorous competition is a reality in Maine, and telecommunications regulation will now reflect that." The new regulation provides regulatory freedom for all retail products and services and allows FairPoint flexibility to quickly adjust its pricing to respond to changes in the marketplace.