PORTLAND, Maine — FairPoint Communications Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday barely 18 months after becoming northern New England's dominant telecommunications company, fulfilling critics' predictions that the company wasn't up to the task.
The company said it voluntarily filed for bankruptcy after agreeing on a deal with key lenders that would lower its debt by about 62 percent.
FairPoint, based in Charlotte, N.C., owns and operates phone companies in 18 states with a total of 1.65 million lines. Its largest holdings are in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, where it bought Verizon Communications Inc.'s land lines and Internet network for $2.3 billion in 2008.
FairPoint has been struggling under a large debt and falling revenues, as well as customer-service, billing and other problems since switching over to its own computer systems in northern New England nine months ago.
The bankruptcy filing was widely anticipated as the company has negotiated with banks and bondholders to restructure its debt.