- Associated Press - Sunday, February 12, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont’s utility regulating Public Service Board is going to be collecting opinions about the proposed merger of FairPoint Communications with Consolidated Communications.

The first hearing is set for Feb. 15 at Montpelier’s Union Elementary School. Additional hearings are scheduled for Feb. 21 in St. Johnsbury and March 2 in Bennington.

The Public Service Department, which represents consumers before the board, is encouraging Vermonters to provide input into the proposed merger, which must be approved by regulators.

FairPoint, which has a presence in 17 states, provides telephone and data service to customers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. FairPoint’s largest network is in northern New England

It was announced in December that the Illinois-based Consolidated planned to buy FairPoint for $1.5 billion.

It’s hoped the deal can close by mid-year.

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