Bob Froberg from FairPoint Communications addressed the Waterville Rotary Club and discussed their current involvement in Maine and their plans for the future
Rotary Meeting for Monday, July 27, 2009 held at the Alfond Youth Center - Here is a recap in case you missed our meeting!

Sergeant at Arms


Jeff Jolicoeur was our Sergeant of Arms today. Thanks, Jeff!!!!!



Sally Harwood served as Greeter today. Next week's greeter for the August 3rd meeting will be Louise Smith.

50/50 Tickets


Gene Beaupre and Ed Oliver sold $99 worth of 50/50 tickets. Lyle Gaunce, Charlie's grandson won $50. Charlie will sell tickets next week. Don Plourde won 10 free tickets to the next 50/50 drawing.

World Service Cup


The donations for this month's World Service Cup will go to the Seeds of Peace Camp in Otisfield.

Fined for pictures in the Paper


There were no pictures in the paper last week.

Cell Phones

========== A $10.00 fee for cell phone ringing continues for the 2008-2009 Club year. No fines assessed today.

On Leave


Cynthia Corbin.

World Service Cups


The World Service cups for this month will go to support the Community Gardens planted near the North Street recreational fields.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests


Nancy Gallagher introduced Jeff Dupuis from Fairpoint Communications. Lucille Zelenkewich introduced Sharon Simmons from Fairpoint Communications.

What can you do?


* Tell Board Members what you are passionate about for community projects

* Tell the program committee about interesting speakers/topics you would like to listen to

* Be involved, join a committee

* Be active

* Be positive

Happy Dollars


Marc Pitman took his son to his first Red Sox game at Fenway.

Nancy Gallagher just celebrated her birthday (70) and had a wonderful birthday weekend.

Elizabeth Vanderweide shared that Ally Karter helped her to buy her first home.

Doug Carnrick shared that he has family visiting the area from Lake Placid, NY. Also announced short RYLA meeting to choose candidate.

Butch Merritt attended Carver, MA, home day (100 year old celebration) including clam bake and also had week's vacation at Southwest Harbor. His grandson (4) swam for the first time and rode a new bicycle.

Patti Newmen just moved to Oakland with help of some Rotarians.

Sarah Sugden shared her thanks to the 'labor movement' that provided a quiet weekend.



Chris Gaunce - International Service Committee will meet after this meeting.

Ed Riggs - Radio Auction will meet next week after regular Monday meeting.

Nancy Gaunce - PR meeting next week after regular Monday meeting.

Membership Committee wants slips of proposed members from current members.

Dave Geller - Needs people to volunteer to work at the 'golf tournament' on Thursday, August 13th, Natanis Golf Course. People will gather at 8 am. Tee time is 9 am. The bar-b-cue chef is Kevin O'Leary.

Program Committee Meeting at Lucille Zelenkewich's office 9 am Wednesday.

Upcoming speaker schedule:


August 3, 2009 Classification Talks

August 10, 2009 Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro

August 17, 2009 Lauren Shaw, Water for Cambodia

August 24, 2009 TBA

August 31, 2009 TBA

09-10 Board of Directors:


President Sarah Sugden

President-elect Seth Sherwood

Vice President Don Plourde

Immediate Past President Ally Karter

Secretary Cathy Langlais

Assistant Secretary Steve Kelleher

Treasurer-Charitable Allan Rancourt

Treasurer-Operations Don Borman

Fund Raising Ed Oliver

Club Administration Lucille Zelenkewich

Rotary Foundation Suzanne Uhl-Melanson

International Service Chris Gaunce

Vocational Services Tom Longstaff

Public Relations Nancy Gallagher

Community Service Nicky Desjardins

At-Large Peter Garrett

Waterville Rotary Club Web Site


Today's Program: FairPoint Communications (Bob Froberg)

To avoid a bankruptcy filing and right its financial ship, FairPoint Communications is restructuring its mountain of debt and will pour money into expanding high-speed Internet access, a cop company official said during an event Monday.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 50 members of the Waterville Rotary Club at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville, Bob Froberg also said FairPoint is also working with its bondholders to convert some of its debt into equity. Froberg also said the company is heavily investing in expanding access to high speed Internet access in Maine and is eyeing a move into the cable television business.

"We have restructured our debt with our bondholders," said Froberg, senior director of sales in Maine for FairPoint. "It will extend our debt an additional 10 years. Clearly we had too much cash going to pay the debt."

North Carolina-based FairPoint paid $2.3 billion to acquire the landline phone network from Verizon Communications in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. FairPoint had been counting on revenue from landline services and expanded internet service to pay the debt, but technical problems stemming from the switchover have persisted and upset customers have switched to other providers.

In recent financial statements, FairPoint sought to have bondholders delay interest payments due in October on debts totaling more than $500 million and if agreements couldn't be reached, the company said options included "alternative restructuring plans" such as "a bankruptcy proceeding."

FairPoint spokesman Jeff Nevins said Monday the debt-restructuring plan isn't a done deal yet; the company has hired British investment banking firm Rothschild to help with those efforts.

"We're just starting the process; the bond exchange is out there," Nevins said.

Froberg also addressed problems that have plagued the FairPoint takeover since its Verizon takeover, saying the company didn't realize what it was getting into. FairPoint replaced and consolidated Verizon's aging systems when it took over and installed new computer software, which hasn't performed as expected.

Froberg told the Rotary audience that "we inherited a business that was sorely under-invested." For example, Froberg said that soon after the acquisition he visited employees at a company garage in Machias and two technicians there wanted to show him two trucks.

"You could see down through the floorboard to the road. That's unacceptable," Froberg said. "I immediately took those two trucks off the road."

Verizon also led FairPoint to believe that the business in the three states was bigger than it actually was, Froberg said. Even so, he hastened to say he wasn't blaming Verizon because regulatory rules prevented sharing critical information before the takeover, meaning that "we didn't know what we had until we walked in the door."

"Did it go perfectly? No. However, moving forward…the systems are getting more proficient," he said. "If we've let you down, we apologize for that, and we know we've let people down."

Going forward, FairPoint plans to invest $40 million in expanding high-speed broadband connections to the Internet, with a goal of expanding access to 90 percent of the state by next year. FairPoint plans to mostly use technology and the existing copper-wire system that exists today to deliver broadband, instead of using costly fiber-optics.

FairPoint also plans to eventually offer cable television and so-called "triple play" deals ..... phone, Internet and TV .....and that service, Froberg said, could be available to customers in central Maine "less than a year from now."

The service would compete with those offered by other companies such as Time Warner Cable.

"We welcome the opportunity to compete with them," Froberg said.

by Scott Monroe, Central Maine Morning Sentinel