The Illinois-based company that's buying FairPoint Communications is likely to expand broadband and compete with cable companies for some TV customers in northern New England, a Wall Street analyst says. Consolidated Communications already has video offerings in other markets, and the existing FairPoint network can support such service in parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, said Barry Sine, a telecommunications analyst at Drexel Hamilton. Video offerings and expanded broadband would allow FairPoint to compete for cable TV customers in places where cable companies currently have a near-monopoly. "Consumers in the states will see more competition. It's very important and it benefits the consumer," Sine said Tuesday. Consolidated plans to buy FairPoint in a deal worth $1.5 billion that already has been approved by the boards of both companies. Under the agreement, Consolidated will assume FairPoint's debt and offer dividends to stockholders. The companies hope to close the deal in the summer. But it faces regulatory hurdles. Utilities regulators must review the plan to ensure that the transaction is good for consumers.
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