Consolidated Communications, FairPoint Gets Antitrust OK

Federal government has no competition issues with proposed deal

The federal government has no antitrust issues with the proposed $1.5 billion merger of ISP Consolidated Communications Holdings and ISP holding company FairPoint.

That came in an early termination notice Thursday from the Federal Trade Commission, which means that neither it nor the Justice Department had issues with the merger that required either conditions or suing to block it, so its Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust review was terminated early.

The merger still needs to get the approval of the FCC, whose review extends beyond antitrust to public interest concerns.

Consolidated Communications companies provide approximately 219,000 residential and 409,000 business broadband connections, approximately 189,000 residential voice lines (VoIP and POTS), and approximately 269,000 business voice lines (VoIP and POTS).

FairPoint companies serve about 310,000 broadband and 377,000 residential voice subs. It also owns and operates a fiber network of more than 21,000 miles and 1,300 communications towers.

The deal was filed with the FCC Dec. 20.